DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 41 2018
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9
A neighbor tells me about wild brawls at Julia Creek, in western Queensland, some years back, involving different nationalities, with karate used by one group. Interesting times. A dog at another neighbor’s house barks for two hours non-stop.
Marie and I babysit our grand daughter, Parker at Main Beach on the Gold Coast. An old bloke, playing a guitar and enjoying a can of VB or two, tells us he has spotted a whale. Damned if we can spot it. Maybe he has been having more than VB.
Rugby league player/manager Wayne Beavis is having dinner at Mano’s as I walk up Tedder Avenue.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 10
Learn of the passing of Graham Nobbs, 69, a mate from Murwillumbah. ‘Nobby’ was a men’s wear salesman and I bought clothes from him at Murwillumbah, and also in Brisbane. He was a noted race tipster and was known as ‘The Nobbler’ in one or two newspapers where his tips appeared. Also learn of the passing of noted sports journalist/league historian, Malcolm Andrews at Port Macquarie. I have his ABC of Rugby League, but he wrote a stack of books including ‘Great Aussie Sports Heroes and ‘Stampede – The Year of the Broncos’.
My former Murwillumbah High School classmate, Rob Swales tells me about an under-18 match he played for Souths against Tweed Heads Seagulls in 1969, when rival player, Peter Ryan speared him into the ground after he passed the ball. “‘Pedro’ (Ryan) looked at me and told me to get a haircut,” Rob recalls.
Former Bronco, Peter Ryan (not to be confused with the aforementioned Peter Ryan) is to join the Queensland Reds rugby union coaching staff. Another former Bronco, Alan Cann is on a fishing trip – off the Central Queensland Coast – with some of the Stafford Tavern regulars.
Former Sydney Wests’ forward, Geoff Foster emails, seeking photographs from the match between New South Wales Country and Queensland at Newcastle in 1971, a match in which he played for Country.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12
QSport chief, Peter Cummiskey addresses a meeting of our Queensland Rugby League History Committee about the State Hall of Fame. Afterwards I MC Beer and Beef Club lunch at Regatta Hotel. Sirromet Wines owner, Terry Morris was to be guest speaker, but is a late scratching, after falling ill following a European trip. Instead I interview Jo Harding from Carlton and United Breweries and Michael Muzza from Sirromet. Club member, John Gibson does a comedy/magic routine, which is a hit, surprisingly, even with Jo and her young off-sider, Liz Hood. Club member, Danny Burke recalls playing a charity cricket match against the West Indies at Arundel in England, with Broncos’ foundation director, Gary Balkin taking a memorable catch. Gary was a fine rugby league winger in his day. One of the Regatta’s barmaids is so sour. Former South Queensland Crushers’ rugby league player, Jason Wendt says hello as I leave the pub. He recalls teammate, Scott Sattler telephoning him for an interview, pretending to be me.
At Stafford Tavern I win $500 in the lucky draw and throw $100 on the table, but the punters persuade me to make it $50, thinking that $100 is too generous. Good lads. Legendary Brothers’ strapper, Jimmy Johnson is wearing a 1997 Australian Super League jersey! I still speak to him.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13
New Zealand beat Australia 26-24 in a League Test at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland with Kiwi hooker, Brandon Smith making an amazing Test debut. Originally from Waiheke Island, off Auckland, Smith attended Kirwan High School in Townsville and is now contracted to Melbourne Storm. The One Tree Hill Choir is so good. Australia’s debutant centre, Latrell Mitchell refuses to sing our anthem. Channel 9 commentator, Phil ‘Gus’ Gould has a crack at the size of the crowd (12,763).
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14.
Wigan defeat Warrington 12-4 in the English Super League grand final. Frenchmen, Romain Navarette and Morgan Escare are part of the Wigan squad. Warrington fullback, Stefan Ratchford wins the Harry Sunderland Medal. Sydney based English Test prop, James Graham is a panel member on the pre-game televison show. Andy Farrell, Martin Offiah, Eddie Jones, Wayne Bennett, Paul Wellens and Jamie Peacock are some of the ‘noted faces’ in the Old Trafford crowd.
Former Australian prop, Steve Price is court side for his daughter Jamie-Lee’s debut for the Australian Diamonds in a netball Test against New Zealand in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Photo 1: Peter Ryan (far left) in action for Tweed Seagulls
Photo 2: Rob Swales (second from left, backrow)
Photo 3: Andy Farrell