DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE
MONDAY, DECEMBER 31 2018
Our eldest boy, Damien, wife, Emma and daughter, Parker climb Mt Coolum, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, for the first time. Marie and I climbed it once, when I was in camp, (as a reporter) with the Queensland State of Origin side, at nearby Clive Palmer’s resort. The views are sensational, but Mount Warning in the Tweed Valley is still the best.
WEEK 1 2019
TUESDAY, JANUARY 1 2019
First irritating dog bark of the year, yelps out at 6.30 a.m. A kookaburra laughs soon after, just to balance things. One foreign sound, followed by nature. Brisbane Heat lose Big Bash game against Sydney Sixers at Carrara, even though Chris Lynn makes 84, including six sixes. Murwillumbah born, Max Bryant hits 34 for the Heat, including two sixes. Former England player, Phil Tufnell is hilarious as a television commentator.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2
The yard of No 42 Jean Street, Grange is so overgrown. There is even a car wreck in the bush, at the front of the house. At Stafford Tavern, noted punter, Wayne Mitchell says his ‘no beer’, New Year’s resolution lasted until 11.30 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Good work, Wayne.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 3
Former Hull Kingston Rovers’ forward, Keith Pollard has released a book, ‘Red & White Phoenix’. My good mate, Greg Grainger played in the (knock-out) Amco Cup competition with Keith, for North Coast against Manly-Warringah at Lang Park, Brisbane, in 1975. Greg was chosen from Murwillumbah Brothers, Keith from the Kempsey Cowboys. “He took Phil Lowe’s head off,” Grainger recalls. Pollard remembers it as a perfect ball-and-all tackle. Television commentator, Ray Warren said: “Geez. The two Pommies have just crashed.” Phil Lowe played at Manly from 1974 to ’76, after being recruited from Hull KR by the Sea Eagles ‘secretary’, Ken Arthurson. Pollard and Lowe had been teammates at Rovers.
It is the ninth anniversary of the passing of my wife, Marie’s father, Kevin Donnelly and we toast him with a (Mudgee) port, as he would have liked.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 4
ABC cricket commentator (can’t recall which one) says he has never heard of chokos. He can’t have been raised in Australia. ‘Bags of water’, my father-in-law, Kevin Donnelly called them. Fellow ABC commentator, Jim Maxwell says they are ‘fairly bland’. ABC politically correct talk even extends to vegetables, it seems. Fairly Bland!!!
Learn of the passing of former Wallaby rugby union skipper, John Thornett, MBE, aged 83. His younger brothers, Dick and Ken played rugby league for Australia. Dick played union for the Wallabies first, and also represented Australia in water polo, at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Ken, a stylish fullback, was one of my heroes when I was at school.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 5
Sale v Saracans rugby union match from England sees former Castleford rugby league star, Denny Solomona score a good try for Sale. It is a free flowing game. A house in Gilbert Road, near us, has a sign saying they will not vote for a party that detains refugees. I suppose the crucial point is – define refugees. It is ‘Pink Day’ at the SCG, and an Indian bloke in the crowd is wearing a pink Turban. Good on you mate.
Marie and I attend our grandson, Connor’s second birthday party at Bardon Bowls Club, in Brisbane’s west. The bar manager was born near Birmingham and raised at Looe in Cornwall.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 6
Relaxing time at Sandgate on Brisbane’s northern bayside. Lots of windsurfers. One drink at Full Moon, then to Mr Henderson’s, a bar in what was the oldest store in Sandgate. Singer plays John Mellencamp songs.
1 Keith Pollard in action for Maitland
2 Great Britain forward, Phil Lowe charges past Australia’s Mick Cronin in 1978.
3 Steve Ricketts (left) and Ken Arthurson.