DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 28 2018
WEDNESDAY, JULY 11
Queensland salvage pride from the 2018 State of Origin rugby league series with a 18-12 win in the third, ‘dead rubber’ clash at Suncorp Stadium. It proves a fitting farewell for Qld fullback, Billy Slater, who is to retire from all forms of football at the end of the season. Billy is man of the match and also wins the Wally Lewis Medal as Player of the Series, a controversial choice, given he played two of the three games and was on the losing side in Game 2. NSW coach, Brad Fittler thought Tom Trbojevic deserved the Medal. A drunk threw beer over Marie and I and those around us, during the match and was quickly evicted by police. Another chap, with a head like a beaten favorite, yelled ‘F… New South Wales’ as he left the ground. Marie and I caught up with Beenleigh High principal, Matt O’Hanlon, who was just back from a trip to China. Also caught up with former Queensland star, Allan Smith, the Maroons’ five eighth in the inaugural Origin match in 1980. Allan was there with ex-North Sydney teammate, John Adam. A former national selection, Allan was going to a junior league carnival at Roma the following day.
THURSDAY, JULY 12
I lodge my votes, as a judge for the latest Rugby League Hall of Fame inductees. My choices must remain ‘in-house’.
Good news. The Victory Hotel at Mooball in the Tweed Shire, has re-opened, thanks to Dom Pirlo, a first time publican with extensive experience in the retail trade.
FRIDAY, JULY 13
Chat to new national executive officer of Men of League, Stephen Lowndes at a lunch for the charity at Norths Kallangur Leagues Club. FoxSports’ Ben Ikin hosts a mock NRL 360 program, along with Queensland coach, Kevin Walters; News Limited journalist, Paul Kent and former Queensland star, Billy Moore. When Ben’s father-in-law, Wayne Bennett comes under the spotlight for something to do with his coaching at the Broncos, Ikin says: “It’s OK to bag Bennett. Please do.” Afterwards I chat to Paul Kent about current journalistic trends. Also catch up with former Courier-Mail work mate, Matt Marshall who is attending the lunch with his father-in-law. Matt now lives at Putney in London.
Ballina product, Nick Meaney makes his NRL debut for Newcastle Knights in their 18-16 win over Parramatta. His grandfather, Dennis Meaney played for Sydney Wests in the early 1960s, and later coached Lismore Marist Brothers, in the Group 1 rugby league, taking them to the Clayton’s Cup on one occasion, as the best side in NSW Country.
SATURDAY, JULY 14
Former Test forward, Wally Fullerton Smith gives Men of League charity a nice mention at halftime in the Intrust Super Cup match between Redcliffe and Burleigh at Dolphin Oval.
Manly’s 2008 side are featured on Old Boys Day at Brookvale Oval, where the Sea Eagles are hosting Melbourne Storm. Melbourne win 14-13, thanks to a penalty goal by skipper, Cameron Smith. In the 2008 grand final, Manly thrashed Melbourne 40-0. Melbourne were missing skipper, Cameron Smith through suspension, but still boasted the likes of Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk, Israel Folau, Michael Crocker, Adam Blair, Dallas Johnson and Antonio Kaufusi. I covered that match, and it was tougher than the scoreline indicates, with Manly leading only 8-0 at halftime. Manly prop, Brent Kite was the Clive Churchill Medal winner. In 1978 Manly won the premiership by defeating Cronulla 16-0 in a replay, after it finished 11-all in the grand final. Man of the match was Manly fullback, Graham Eadie. The only Queenslanders involved in 1978 were Bruce Walker (Manly) and Paul Khan (Cronulla), both Brisbane Easts’ products.
SUNDAY, JULY 15
Take our grandchildren, Ethan, Connor and Parker Ricketts to the NRL for the first time – for the Broncos v Warriors match at Suncorp Stadium. Leave 10 minutes from full time, with the Warriors leading 26-0. They went on to win 26-6. Isaac Luke was outstanding for the Warriors.
Our eldest boy, Damien has been elected to the committee of the Main Beach Surf Club on the Gold Coast.
Learn of the passing of Alan Scott, who played second row for South Sydney in their 12-10 win over Canterbury in the 1967 Sydney grand final. Scott was a South Sydney junior, just like his second row partner, Bob McCarthy.
Watch Le Tour enter the cathedral city of Chartres, where Marie and I spent a night in 2007.
Photo 1: Graham Eadie
Photo 2: Bruce Walker
Photo 3: Steve Ricketts and grandkids at the Wally Lewis statue outside Suncorp Stadium.