DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 49 2018
MONDAY, DECEMBER 3
Drive to our youngest lad, Lliam’s place at Auchenflower, via Red Hill, where a huge media scrum is awaiting the arrival of new coach, Anthony Siebold, who has replaced Wayne Bennett, who will coach South Sydney in 2019. Siebold holds his first training run at Purtell Park, Bardon, home of Wests Panthers, where I covered and watched many games, and played a few as well, for Brothers and Norths, also for the Queensland journalists side. Broncos’ chairman, Karl Morris takes Siebold to Norman Hotel for a steak. The Norman boasts it is Brisbane’s worst vegetarian pub. Siebold is the ultimate professional, but, I am reliably informed, he was a party boy when he played for Canberra Raiders in the 1990s. Bennett is a no show at Souths’ home, Redfern Oval. As Marie and I entertain our grandsons, Ethan and Connor in Torwood Park, a mother and daughter speed by, together on a lime scooter, on Haig Road. The mother is not wearing a helmet. What hope is there!
Maybe some hope – Our eldest boy, Damien, has been appointed deputy principal at East Ayr Primary School in the Burdekin region of North Queensland.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5
Valleys’ legends, Tom Duggan and Marty Scanlan, as well as former Great Britain skipper, Tommy Bishop, are special guests at Men of League Christmas Lunch at Broncos Leagues. I interview all three. Former Souths’ chief executive, Graham Kerr is mistaken, by one of the guests, for former Queensland forward, Les Geeves. Understandable. Afterwards, I attend 25 year reunion for Broncos’ 1993 premiership winning side, in the Darcy Mitchell Room. Absentees include Peter Ryan, Trevor Gillmeister and Alan Cann. Kevin Walters asks me to name my all time favorite Bronco. I don’t hesitate to nominate Allan ‘Alfie’ Langer. There are some lovely, honest speeches. Prop, Glenn Lazarus apologises to trainer and groundsman, Tony ‘Springer’ Spencer over a falling out they had many years ago, while Andrew Gee apologises to me, for giving me a hard time, ‘back in the day’. He didn’t need to. I never took offence to anything he, or any of the players, said. Adjourn to Paddington Tavern for more drinks. The Broncos are playing pool – for money – when I decide it is time to leave.
The NBN people are in our town house estate. From my observations, I have to agree with our estate manager, Harry Moore that the three workers – two females and one male – are ‘slow’.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6
A young tradie is on his phone as he drives behind a cyclist in Uxbridge Street, Grange.
Coffee with Gold Coast Titans ‘heavies’, Mal Meninga and Dennis Watt at Newstead Brewery, to talk about the history of Gold Coast/Northern Rivers League, which I have written, at Mal’s request. Afterwards Mal and Dennis attend Melbourne Storm coach, Craig Bellamy’s boardroom lunch at Queensland Rugby League headquarters next door, an event to raise money for Men of League charity.
Sunshine Coast Daily are searching for a photograph of former Australian fullback, Ray Laird and I am able to help out.
First Cricket Test, Australia v India, gets underway at the Gabba. Channel 7 miss the coin toss. Not a great start to their first summer of cricket.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7
Former Newtown, Canterbury and Roosters’ centre, Mick Ryan has been in Sydney, attending a study course covering indigenous and islander affairs. Mick, a product of Tweed Heads Seagulls, recalls seeing the Australian team train at Godwin Park, Coolangatta, when Elwyn Walters (another Seagulls’ product) was the Kangaroos’ hooker. That would have been 1970 or ’72. Mick played in Tweed Seagulls’ premiership winning side in 1974, when Tom Searle was captain-coach.
Former Broncos and Penrith coach, Anthony ‘Hook’ Griffin has been helping out with New South Wales Waratahs’ rugby union.
Australia’s cricketers wear arm bands in honor of former Test pace bowler, Colin Guest, who has died. Guest played one Test for Australia – against England in the 1962-63 series.
Buy David Middleton’s Rugby League Annual. Great resource. Nice pic of Craig Coleman, being carried from the field by teammates after Souths won the under-23 grand final in 1983. Craig was one of my late mother, Lola’s favorite players.
Young lads, from streets around Hermitage Gardens, have been harassing smaller kids in our estate, and the police have been notified.
We have a resident artist in our estate – Angela Wilson – who specialises in water scapes.
My brother, Jeffrey, who lives at South Tweed Heads, reports an excellent potato crop in his back yard garden.
1 Welcome to ‘Bronco land’, Anthony Siebold
2 Purtell Park legend, Wayne Carr (left) and Steve Ricketts
3 Glenn Lazarus carts the ball up against Newcastle. That’s Gavin Allen on the left and Allan Langer on the right
4 Tom Searle charges into the ruck for Tweed Heads Seagulls against Mullumbimby at Murwillumbah in 1974.