DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 3 2019
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16
Lunch at Montague Pub, West End with fellow members of the Beer and Beef club, to discuss the coming year. Our eldest boy, Damien stays overnight at Bowen, on his way to take up a new post as deputy principal of East Ayr Primary School after a satisfying and successful stint at Beenleigh High. He says the food at the Grandview Pub is excellent. That’s more than I can say for the Montague, where my porterhouse steak was as tough as an old boot. The Grandview has a local sports ‘wall of fame’, which features the likes of Queensland State of Origin rugby league forward, Mick McLean; former national long jump ace, Robbie Crowther and golfer, Corrine Dibner. Ayr is famous for the likes of Test rugby league forward, Kel O’Shea and golfer, Karrie Webb.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 17
The crowd at St Etienne v Marseilles soccer match in France, seem to cheer nothing. They are easily pleased, or totally bored.
Brisbane Men of League patron, Ron Atkins says Souths Logan will have a pre-season training camp at Chillingham, in the Tweed Valley. Souths’ Logan coach is John Buchanan, who is from the Tweed. Ron’s daughter lives at Chillingham, which I presume is named after Chillingham in England, where Marie and I visited in 1978, to see its herd of wild cattle. Ron worked at the Tweed Heads’ butter factory, when he was a young man.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 18
My wife loves the Australian Open Tennis, except for the fact there are “too many screaming females”, on the court.
I attend Queensland Rugby League History Committee meeting at QRL Central, Milton, where we finalise plans for this year’s Ross Livermore Memorial Lecture, which will be delivered by former Queensland coach, Michael Hagan, on the topic ‘Australians in England’. Michael played for Halifax in England, while older brother, Bob had a stint at Huddersfield.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 19
There is a bloke with a metal detector, scouring the Grange Thistle soccer fields. Sad.
Windsor International Motel is alerted to be ready for a busload of people from a cancelled Qantas flight to the USA. Turns out to be two people. A ‘disaster’ for the kitchen at the motel, as they had prepared a stack of meals.
Queensland State of Origin legends, Allan Langer and Trevor Gillmeister are guests at a horse race meeting at Cowra, in western New South Wales, invited there by local legend, fellow international, Royce Simmons. What a day that would have been. At the Gold Coast Turf Club, there are races named after Brisbane Brothers’ rugby league legends, the late Don ‘Doc’ Alroe and Peter Gallagher.
Former Brothers’ winger, Peter Skerman tells me about the day he marked former Wallaby rugby union winger, Peter Moore, who had switched to league with Souths Magpies. Evidently ‘Skermo’ gave Moore such a torrid time, at Corbett Park, Grange, that Brothers’ lock, Wayne Abdy handed over his $5 best and fairest bonus, as a tribute. ‘Skermo’ scored a try in Brothers’ 15-12 win on the day their new $250,000 clubhouse was opened. (July 18, 1971). Shades of All Blacks’ winger, John Kirwan, (who was brought up on league) carving up Wallaby winger, David Campese (another ex-league player) in a Test. Former ABC television producer, Don Munro says a cameraman heard Kirwan tell Campese, at the start of the game, that he would kill him.
The new captain-coach of Burdekin Roosters in the Townsville Rugby League competition, is Fijian, and reportedly will bring with him a stack of his countrymen.
Former Australian winger, goal kicking ace, Ross Conlon needs a hip replacement.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 20
An Englishman phones Macca on his ABC Radio show, to talk about his travels in Central Australia. Originally from Wigan, in Greater Manchester, this chap is a rugby league man and talks in respectful tones about former Great Britain skipper, Ellery Hanley and former Australian five eighth, Brett Kenny, who won a Challenge Cup final with Wigan.
Marie and I get bus to the Valley, checking out the new King Street precinct, after walking past the old Museum. where people are lined up to see Perth band, ‘The Faim’. Drinks at Osborne pub, where water jets play on patrons, to alleviate the heat. Dinner at Beirne Lane is good – eggplant, seaweed and mushrooms (moi); Steak from the flank (Marie). Our cabbie home is an Easts Tigers’ Rugby League supporter, from Holland Park.
I understand the Gaythorne RSL has given $20,000 to Wests Mitchelton Junior Rugby League, for the coming season.
1 Damien Ricketts (arms folded) and the Beenleigh High rugby league lads
2 Huddersfield Rugby League in the early 1970s. Greg Veivers is fourth from the left, in the backrow, and the tall chap beside him is Wayne Bennett
3 Action from Central Park, Wigan.
4 Peter Skerman (centre) recalls his glory days at Brothers.