DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 29 2018
TUESDAY, JULY 17
Rugby League Hall of Fame’s new inductees are Mark Graham, Cliff Lyons, Ricky Stuart, Petero Civoniceva, Gorden Tallis and Steve Menzies. I was one of 25 judges in the Hall of Fame College, and I can tell you that I voted for four of those men. Otherwise, I am sworn to secrecy.
Learn of the death of prominent journalist, Evan Whitton. He was a stalwart of rugby union in Toowoomba.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 18.
At Stafford Tavern, Jim Gannon introduces me to the father and sister of noted bush footballer, Noel Haslam, who is doing it tough in Prince Charles Hospital. Haslam played Queensland Cup for Cairns and Wynnum-Manly. Former Brothers’ secretary, Don Munro says the late Gordon Treichel, a Wests’ stalwart, regarded the original Broncos’ directors – Paul Morgan, Barry Maranta, Steve Williams and Gary Balkin – as too ruthless for his liking. The Brisbane clubs had to deal with the Broncos’ directors in the lead-up to the granting of their licence to field a side in the NSWRL. Treichel was co-manager of the 1986 Kangaroos in England and France, along with John Fleming.
My former Courier-Mail workmate, Amy Harris has given birth to a boy, Henry. He is now five months old, but I only found out this week. Amy’s dad is former North Sydney and Canterbury-Bankstown star, Keith Harris, who played for New South Wales in 1975. Keith started his footy career as a halfback in Tamworth, but lock became his preferred position. Canterbury signed him from Norths, in 1974, primarily because of his front-on defence, it was reported at the time. He was nicknamed ‘crash’.
THURSDAY, JULY 19
Former Australian forward, Trevor Gillmeister calls into the Stafford Tavern for a punt, just as footage of him, slipping on the stage at Suncorp Stadium, appears on the pub’s big TV screen. Timing is everything.
Former Towooomba Clydesdales and Celtic Crusaders (Wales) rugby league coach, John Dixon has had a couple of bad falls from push bikes.
I am contacted by Craig Symons, whose parents, Pauline, 81, and Rex, 83, were Brisbane Brothers’ Leagues Club foundation members and ran a popular garage on Lutwyche Road, opposite the Kedron Park Hotel. They have lots of programs and jerseys, and Craig thinks they would make a good interview, for Men of League magazine. I agree.
FRIDAY, JULY 20
Courier Mail start promoting my ‘Before the Broncos’ series, which will run for eight days.
Queensland Rugby League History Committee chairman, Kevin Brasch recites a poem about famous Mt Isa club, Black Stars before the start of our meeting.
Nick Kenny and David Stagg say hello to me, as they quaff a few ales at the Newstead Brewery, ahead of the Broncos’ home match against Penrith. Brisbane win 50-18 with five eighth, Anthony Milford in grand form. FoxSports commentator, Michael Ennis says he wants to pick my brain, re Hall of Fame.
I am reliably informed that Broncos’ legend, Allan Langer had urged coach, Wayne Bennett to sign Mitchell Pearce, to solve the club’s halfback problems. Instead, Pierce signed with Newcastle.
SUNDAY, JULY 22
Donnelly family get-together at Tweed Heads. Irish cousin, Liana Kelly celebrates her 18th with the Donnelly/Ricketts clan at Star City, Broadbeach. My niece, Jacinta Ricketts, a solicitor, was a nanny in Dublin during her travels.
Watch Le Tour enter Carcassonne, a city I have visited a number of times, as a tourist, and also on rugby league business. In 1989 I covered a match there, between the local provincial team, L’Aude and Queensland Residents. Queensland won 32-4 and afterwards L’Aude skipper, former Test hooker, Thiery Bernabe, said he was surprised at the high skill level of the Maroons. ASC XIII Carcassonne, the club side, has boasted many famous players, most notably, Puig Aubert (who has a statue at the stadium) and Edouard Ponsinet.
Photo 1: Keith Harris playing for North Sydney
Photo 2: Keith Harris at Canterbury
Photo 3: Pauline Symons (right) and Margaret Hinze at Brothers Leagues in 1976
Photo 4: Edouard Ponsinet in action for Carcassonne.