DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 39 2018
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
Visit our youngest son, Lliam and wife, Channelle’s new house, a 1912 Federation style building at Auchenflower. Babysit their boys, Ethan and Connor. Ethan ‘controls’ me with his remote. We missed our grandchildren badly during our six week UK/Ireland trip.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
I am interviewed by author, Joe Gorman for his book, ‘Heartland. How Rugby League Explains Queensland’. He was to interview indigenous stars, Tony Currie and Preston Campbell after me.
My brother, Andrew is home from Vietnam, and we adjourn to Stafford Tavern for a few ales. Bar manager, Scott said his dad once had the Tatts pub in Lismore, New South Wales, which was a rugby union pub in those days. My dad’s old college, Woodlawn, a noted league school, wins the under-15 rugby union sevens at Waratah Oval, Newcastle. The team includes Jack Elmore and Harry Sivewright, both surnames synonymous with Marist Brothers rugby league.
North Queensland Cowboys sign Ben Barba, who has been killing it with St Helens in England. People we know up north are not happy with the signing.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
The Dally M Awards are held in Sydney and Bronco, Sam Thaiday salutes retiring players, of which he is one. In England, London Broncos’ coach, Danny Ward is named Championship Coach of the Year. His father, David played 12 Tests for Britain between 1977 and 1982, as a hooker.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
Catch up with our eldest lad, Damien; his wife, Emma and daughter, Parker at Main Beach on the Gold Coast. Parker was waiting out the front to greet us. The newsagency in Tedder Avenue is obviously pro-AFL, as they have the AFL Record at the front desk, and Big League down the back.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28
Watch Salford v Toulouse rugby league match and Toulouse star, Johnathan Ford gives an impressive post match interview. Ford is a Newcastle (Australia) raised player of Cook Islands descent.
Valleys Diehards hold annual reunion at their Grange clubhouse, with quite a few of the lads, led by former prop, Frank Clancy, enjoying a few ales at Stafford Tavern beforehand. Brothers’ stalwart, Bruno Brennan tells me he went on 1986 Kangaroo supporters’ tour in England, on a bus with former Test forward, Bob McCarthy as the celebrity tour leader.
Former Cowboys’ hooker, Aaron Payne has been announced as coach of Townsville for the 2019 Intrust Super Cup. Tweed Coast Raiders win Claytons Cup as New South Wales Country’s premier rugby league side. It is a real cup.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
Visit neighbour, Peter Skerman, who has had his share of health battles, but has come through OK. In his office is a Carlton action pic from his playing days with Brothers. He got it from the Newmarket pub. David Wright also is in the pic. Legendary Brothers’ strapper, Jimmy Johnson arrives at ‘Skermo’s, driving a Brothers’ van, and presents gifts of whiskey and jam, both home made, as well as a polo shirt from Oman, where Jimmy’s son, Stephen is a green keeper.
My wife, Marie phones our daughter, Melanie about her new boyfriend, Greg Mariotto, associate director quality, Collins Aerospace, originally from Perth. They watched the AFL grand final together the day before (West Coast won, I believe). Marie and I watch the NRL grand final at our youngest boy, Lliam’s place and the mighty Roosters get home against the evil Storm. Latrell Mitchell carves up Will Chambers. Narrabri junior league players present the medals to the players. Former Storm star, Matt King is a trainer with the Roosters and his mum, Narelle is not sure who to support. “Blood is thicker than water. Go for the Chooks,’ Storm coach, Craig Bellamy tells Narelle. Redcliffe were never in the hunt in the match against NSW Cup winners, Canterbury.
Photo 1: David Ward (second from left, front row) at Leeds
Photo 2: Bob McCarthy.