DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 45 2018
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5
Brothers Tom and Liam Duggan are my interview subjects, in Toowoomba, for Men of League magazine. Liam represented Queensland against the touring Great Britain side in 1968, while Tom toured New Zealand with the Maroons in 1974. The brothers hail from Wondai in the South Burnett region of Queensland. Liam played all his football in the bush, while Tom played for Valleys in Brisbane and was part of their premiership winning side in 1979.
Former Queensland prop, Gavin Allen is a patron at Stafford Tavern with a mate. Gavin, who is a non-drinker, is awaiting a suitable donor for a heart transplant. Gavin knows noted heart surgeon, Andrew Gabraith who was a neighbour of ours at Zillmere back in the 1980s.
Brothers’ Golf Club member, Peter Skerman recalls a visit to Byron Bay by the club, some years back. “They (Byron) treated us like shit,” Skermo says.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6
Our youngest son, Lliam backs the winner, Cross Counter, in the Melbourne Cup and wins $120. My wife, Marie enjoys the Cup at Aspley Hornets Australian rules club. Our daughter, Melanie watches in Boomerang Bar, Singapore. Stafford Tavern is packed and Brothers’ rugby league players are there in their Hawaiian shirts. Peter Skerman and former Brothers’ teammate, Peter Mahoney watch the Cup at Burleigh Surf Club.
Courier-Mail cricket writer, Robert ‘Crash’ Craddock says a grandstand at the Gabba should be named after former Australian pace bowler, Jeff Thompson. I agree. I had the pleasure of ghost writing Thommo’s columns for the Telegraph newspaper in the 1980s.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7
Mal Meninga joins Gold Coast Titans in new position – Head of Performance and Culture.
Noted Stafford Tavern punter, Wayne Mitchell upset at the news of the death of Basil Nolan, horse breeder and rugby league coach, as the result of a hay baling mishap near Warwick on the southern Darling Downs.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8
Walk around Toowong War Memorial, where young lass, with six month old large dog, Torbyn, says hello. Torbyn licks me. Lunch at Brooks and Stain, Wilston. (Red Emperor moi; chicken Turkish, Marie). Our waitress is hopeless, the food OK.
Hermitage Gardens newsletter includes a letter from me, about barking dogs in our estate. They are getting out of hand, with some owners leaving dogs at home all day, and/or ignoring the barking when they are home. Live and let live is a fine motto, but having consideration for others should over-ride that free spirited outlook.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10
Chat to Irish couple from Malahide, here on 10 weeks holidays. He is a painter and decorator. Marie and I stayed a night at Malahide in 1977. Limerick play Galway in a hurling match at the Sydney Showgrounds.
In an interview with the BBC, England coach, Wayne Bennett recalls the death of his two great-uncles, while they were fighting on the Western Front in France in World War I.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11
Rugby League film, ‘Headgear to Helmets’ is launched. Marie and I attend Remembrance Day service at Burleigh Heads, but the minutes silence is observed before 11 a.m. A female veterinarian sings the US, Kiwi and Australian national anthems. Lovely lunch in busy Rick Shores, overlooking the surf beach, with our eldest boy, Damien. The building is undergoing massive renovations. Our waitress is lovely, so natural. Enjoy Coffin Bay oysters, fried Moreton Bay Bug rolls, yellow curry and red duck curry.
Next stop, Lennox Head, where we are to spend several nights. The local food festival is underway at the bowls club, and although it is very crowded, everyone is so good natured. Run into Narelle King, the mother of rugby league stars, Chris, Andrew and Matt. (Chris works locally; Andrew works in Papua New Guinea and Matt is with the Sydney Roosters staff). Pork spring rolls and fish tacos are lovely. Also, lovely craft beers.
Big changes announced for Queensland State of Origin staff with long term trainer, Tony ‘Springer” Spencer replaced by Matt Barradeen, while Justin Hodges replaces Josh Hannay as an assistant coach. Also gone is Trevor Gillmeister with Petero Civoniceva to manage the side,.
Good line from commentator in Chile v Australia women’s soccer match. ‘The ball has been kicked into no-man’s land’. He had no idea what he had just said.
1 Liam (left) and Tom Duggan
2 Remembrance Day service, Burleigh Heads
3 Lennox Head.