DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 31 2018
MONDAY, JULY 30
On Radio TAB, Peter Psaltis says Allan ‘Alfie’ Langer should be added to the exclusive Immortals club. You wont get an argument from me. At Mt Cootha Gardens, where my wife, Marie and I entertain our grandson, Ethan, an Asian lady makes an absolute meal of reversing her car, in the process reinforcing a couple of stereotypes. I shake my head in dismay, and she yells something at me. I don’t think it was nice. Crossing the busy road near the gardens, where there is a safety island, a motor cyclist waves us through. I know people are being polite when they do this, but it is not safe. Motorists should stop at pedestrian crossings, otherwise, they should keep going.
Travel to Ipswich for a chat with Stu Pankoff, a grand old man, who represented Ipswich Rugby League against Great Britain in 1950, and three years later played for Ipswich against the American All Stars. Stu is reading ‘Sapiens’.
TUESDAY, JULY 31
Watch the end of the Hull rugby league derby, between Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers. Hull KR win 20-16. On Radio TAB, John McCoy and Peter Psaltis discuss the differences between the Sydney and Melbourne media. I believe the Sydney media calls a spade a spade when it comes to rugby league, whereas the Melbourne media are more ‘fans’ in their coverage of Aussie rules, although the Melbourne media have got tougher in recent years.
I have morning tea with former Brisbane Brothers’ rugby league teammates, Murray Schultz and Clem Hovi. Clem drinks a tumeric latte! Murray and future international, Graham Quinn were centres in Brothers’ 9-2 loss to Valleys in the 1974 Brisbane Rugby League grand final. Former Courier-Mail movie reviewer, Des Partridge, a devoted Brisbane Souths’ fan, walks by and gives us a wave. Former Bronco, Fletcher Holmes also says hello.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1
Queensland great, Mal Meninga is named the 13th Immortal at a grand function in Sydney.
There is an 80th birthday bash for famous radio announcer, John Knox at Pineapple Hotel.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 3
Dine at GOMA Restaurant at Brisbane’s South Bank, for my wife, Marie’s 68th birthday. Very quiet, except for a table of females. Marie and I enjoyed Music on the Green beforehand, listening to CKNU, who are joined by a talented 80-year-old guitarist/vocalist. Speaking of age – former New Zealand rugby league rep., John Ackland turned 60 this week. John and I were pen friends – ‘Facebook’ before computers. He had a season at Murwillumbah, my home town, but some years after I had left.
Alex Watson Jnr, the grandson of former Test rugby league centre, Alex Watson is in Year 10 at State High and plays rugby union at school, and league for Valleys. His sister, Imogen has a four year swim scholarship with University of Nevada. Their proud dad, Scott gives me this information, while we are chatting about his dad’s stint as a captain-coach at Sarina.
Wayne ‘Ticker’ Heming has a good piece on the QRL website. His views align with mine. There are far too many stoppages, because of technology and the ineptitude of referees.
Great character, Les O’Keeffe from Albion, is 86 today, and shouts drinks at Stafford Tavern.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 4
Warren Kleidon, a self confessed fan of this site (thanks Warren) said he read every issue of Rugby League Week from its inception in 1970 until its demise in 2017. When he was a lad, his father, a rail worker, would buy the mag.
Brothers beat Normanby in a quality rugby league match at Gibson Park, Stafford. Top coach, Wayne Treleavan is in charge of Normanby, and he has former Test centre, Tony Currie assisting. Former Brothers’ star, Craig McAlpine and I reminisce about the 1979 Australian Schoolboys’ tour of France and England, which he was a part of. I interviewed Craig, for Rugby League News, on his return from the trip, at his parents’ house at Herston. An under-12’s game follows first grade, and Brothers’ coach is former Test forward, David Shillington.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 5
Macca’s show on the ABC is shortened by an hour because of GARMA, a festival of traditional culture. Surely the festival could be broadcast on another platform. Macca’s show is only once a week, and does more to unify Australia than any festival. Macca says French movie, ‘See you Up There’ is a must see.
Gilgandra juniors attend NRL match between Penrith and Canberra. Former Penrith forward, John Farragher, who became a paraplegic following a scrum mishap at Henson park in 1978, is a Gilgandra junior. (Rugby Union has called national summit to discuss a recent spate of spinal issues in that code). A junior league carnival at Junee is voted a roaring success. Good to hear nice tales from the bush, about our great game. The national primary schools rugby league titles are held in Adelaide.
French club, Catalan Dragons beat St Helens and Warrington beat Leeds in Challenge Cup semi-finals at Bolton. Catalan and Warrington will play in the final at London’s Wembley Stadium on August 25, and my wife, Marie and I will be there. I was hoping for a St Helens v Leeds final, given the only other Challenge Cup final Marie and I attended was the classic 1978 match between those two clubs, with the Syd Hynes’ coached Leeds winning 14-12. But I am delighted to see the French club reach the final. Dual Welsh rugby international, Scott Quinnell is a guest during the BBC’s coverage of the semis, alongside another Welsh legend, Jonathan Davies.
Photo 1: Murray Schultz in 1977
Photo 2: Mal Meninga
Photo 3: Leeds’ John Holmes kicks the winning field goal against St Helens at Wembley in 1978.
Photo 4: Jonathan Davies (pic Varley Picture Agency).