DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 48 2018
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28
Prominent Gold Coast real estate agent and staunch Broncos’ supporter, Bruce Wilson tells me he believes the Broncos will do well in 2019.
Our eldest boy, Damien and wife, Emma have their Main beach apartment on the market. Their daughter, Parker has a great grasp of the English language, given she is yet to turn two. At one stage, during babysitting ‘duties’, she says to me: ‘I implore you’.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29
There is much debate about Queensland’s top 100 sports people, named in ‘The Courier-Mail’. Radio TAB’s John McCoy says he has interviewed most of them, and that is no boast. One of the top 100 is former Australian rugby league halfback, Barry Muir, who told John a story about a goat being let loose in a player’s room, in the team hotel at Ilkley, Yorkshire on a Kangaroo tour of Britain and France.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30
Dust blown in from ‘The Outback’ has blanketed Brisbane. Former Australian rugby league centre, Chris Johns says his car wash business is going gang busters, as a result. Every cloud has a silver lining, even a dust cloud. Mal Meninga, a Canberra Raiders’ legend, is not sure why the Raiders let go Wingham Tigers’ product, Mitch Barnett, who has joined Newcastle.
Wayne Bennett says he is not quitting the Broncos, before the end of the 2019 season, despite speculation Anthony Siebold will be on board next year. Broncos’ skipper, Darius Boyd, who has been a calm, eloquent leader, finally cracks, and says: “We’re not criminals”, a reaction to the media feeding frenzy at Red Hill, around the coaching drama.
Our son, Lliam gets tickets to Anthony Mundine v Jeff Horn fight at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium. Mundine is knocked out after 96 seconds. Thank heavens the tickets were freebies. Siebold was at the fight. Evidently he was supposed to give a press conference, at the Broncos, at 4 p.m., to say he was coming on board next year.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1
Watch 1977 Sydney grand final replay, in which St George beat Parramatta 22-0 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. A week earlier the two sides had slugged it out for a 9-9 draw at the SCG. St George, coached by Queenslander, Harry Bath, were ruthless in the return encounter, with prop, Craig Young man of the match. Second rower, John Jansen scored off a blatant forward pass, but Saints were never going to be beaten. Gary Cook was referee in both matches.
Also watch replay of 1979 grand final, in which St George, still coached by Harry Bath, defeated Canterbury 17-13. The Canterbury skipper was Greece born, George Peponis. Television commentator, Rex Mossop says: “The Greeks are literally rooting for Peponis”. I’d like to see that. There were seven school teachers in the two teams, Rex pointed out. A marching band provided pre-game entertainment, and, as far as I’m concerned, that would suffice now. Nothing beats a good marching band.
In live English rugby union, Joe Marchant scores a good try, from a kick, for Harlequins against Exeter. Marchant, a centre, hails from Winchester and boasts a Karate black belt. He looks rugby league material, but I’m sure the money is better in union.
Brenton Andrew trains Country Cup Challenge winner, ‘Baker Boy’. His father, Sel was trainer of ‘Almost Tango’, a horse my wife, Marie and my sister, Gay and her husband, David Lynch had shares in.
Ken Berry, who played Captain Parmenter in the television comedy series, F Troop, has died. My favorite character in the show was Corporal Agarn, played by Larry Storch.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2
News breaks at 3.50 p.m. that Wayne Bennett has been sacked as Broncos’ coach. Chief executive, Paul White and chairman, Karl Morris hold a press conference to announce the news.
Mark O’Grady, son of Graeme, is to coach Cudgen in Northern Rivers Rugby League. Graeme was one of my favorite players, because of his smooth, fluent style of play. I remember him turning out for Group 18 against Combined Brisbane at Kingscliff (Cudgen’s home ground) in a Panasonic Cup trial, which I covered for the Brisbane ‘Telegraph’.
Former Radio 2RE sports broadcaster, Marshall Loadsman, has had a stroke. He is being cared for at Kularoo Nursing Home, Forster. Marshall called games, in which I played, for Wingham Tigers in 1975, and, believe it not, I twice got the 2RE player of the match award – once against Wauchope and the other time against Taree United. Any thoughts I had, of having once been a star, evaporate when Stafford Tavern patron, Keith Daley tells me he has run into my former Brisbane Brothers’ teammate, Paddy Hannan at the Crown Hotel, Lutwyche. “Steve. Paddy reckons you had no swerve, couldn’t tackle and couldn’t run,” Keith said. Paddy always was a good judge.
1 George Peponis (right) watches as Canterbury teammate, Bill Noonan pounces on a loose ball to score against St George. That’s Graeme ‘Heaps’ Hughes in the background
2 Almost Tango, ridden by Cecily Eaton, wins at Warwick in 2006
3 Wingham Rugby League 1975 Steve Ricketts, front row, fare left. Captain-coach, John McKeough, is second from right in the front row.