DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 44 2018
MONDAY, OCTOBER 29
State Parliamentarians play a City v Country touch football match at Suncorp Stadium, and take things very seriously, some more than others. They even warm up! Guest players include rugby league internationals, Lote Tuqiri, Scott Prince and Ben Ikin. I think Ben was left wing, and Lote right wing. Jason Costigan, the Member for Whitsundays, acted as commentator. (He was a league commentator for Sky Sport in New Zealand). ‘Costo’ takes a selfie with me. Country win 4-3, and in another win for the bush, the beneficiary of fees paid by the MPs, is the CWA (Country Women’s Association). Over drinks afterwards I chat to LNP MP, David Crisafulli, as well as Scott Stewart, the Deputy Speaker, who knows our eldest boy, Damien. Stewart is an ex-teacher from Pimlico High in Townsville. Damien taught at Townsville’s Kirwan High.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31
Great news. Our eldest boy, Damien and his wife, Emma are expecting their second child. They already have a daughter, Parker. We celebrate at Main Beach Surf Club, where Damien wins $78 on the pokies. Damien and Emma also have sold their Main Beach apartment, ahead of a move to North Queensland, where Damien will teach at East Ayr Primary. Playschool on the ABC presents a game of World Cup soccer. What hope has rugby league got? It would not be fashionable for the Playschool mob. Not multi-cultural enough. Emma hates Halloween, just as we do. She’s not fussed about a lot of American culture.
The funeral for former Brisbane Wests’ rugby league five eighth, Steven Weiss is held at Brookfield. He died of a heart attack, aged 54. Also learn of the passing of Dulcie Moran, 92, the widow of former Brisbane Telegraph photographer, Frank Moran. I did a number of jobs with Frank in the mid and late 1970s, and he was a great help, professionally and personally.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1
Former Queensland State of Origin forward, Mick McLean has sold the Grand View Hotel at Bowen, after 99 years in the family. His nephew, Nick Gregorski is licensee of the Port Office in Brisbane, where Marie and I dine tonight – Bruny Island oysters and roast chicken (moi); Wivenhoe quail (Marie). Our waitress is from Dijon in France.
News breaks from Sydney that former Queensland State of Origin star, Mark Coyne is to join the Australian Rugby League Commission.
Fencing work at our town house estate at Grange, and one of the workers has the surname ‘Beirne’ – famous because one of Brisbane’s early merchants was TC Beirne. This young blokes wears a South Sydney Rabbitohs rugby league hat and Brisbane Brothers’ rugby union shorts.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2
Funeral for Marie’s sister-in-law, Elizabeth (Beth) Donnelly is held at Ballina, with wake at the local RSL Club. Beth’s brother, Mark Yates, from Kedron in Brisbane, gives a wonderful eulogy. The Ballina Four Wheel Drive Club provide a nice tribute to Beth, who loved going to ‘The Outback’ with her husband, Kevin and club members.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3
Skill levels in the Scotland v Wales league international from Galashiels in the Scottish borders, leave a lot to be desired. Former Sydney Morning Herald league writer, Steve Mascord is a commentator for Ireland v France match in Dublin. Small crowds at both matches. There is no music to accompany the singing of the Scottish and Welsh anthems, but both sides do well. In rugby union, England’s Owen Farrell gets away with a shoulder charge in the match against South Africa.
Zac Grainger, a grandson of my former Murwillumbah Brothers’ teammate, Greg Grainger, is out of the Golden Gloves in Brisbane because he did his ACL in a bad tackle, playing rugby league in Newcastle. Marie’s nephew, Jack Pope has his last hit-out for the year, with the Gold Coast based Liverpool soccer academy. Another nephew, Jed Arnett plays rugby league for Lismore Marists. He is a prop. My brother, Jeff, also played for Marists, in the centres.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4
The ABC’s Ian McNamara (Macca) refers to Globite cases, which school children had in the age before back packs. He makes the point that the kids could sit on the cases, and sandwiches were never squashed. Backpacks also have been known to knock old people over as kids hurry to and from and jostle for space on public transport.
1 Jason Costigan (left) and Steve Ricketts
2 Greg Grainger
3 Jed Arnett (left) and Jack Pope.