DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 10 2019
MONDAY, MARCH 11
The proposed Queensland Sports Museum will not get off the ground, chairman, Denis Brennan informs me. The ‘Museum’ caretakers will distribute items to appropriate organisations e.g. Queensland Cricket will get former Test wicket keeper, Wally Grout’s baggy green cap, which has been conservatively valued at $35,000. The Museum was a good idea, and a site had been selected at Redcliffe, but a lack of funding, despite a number of ‘promises’ has seen the dream dissipate. I am chairman of the Queensland Rugby League History Committee, and our chief aim is to get a museum at Suncorp Stadium. Everyone I’ve spoken to, from State Parliamentarians to the man in the street, have told me it is a great idea. But I fear we will suffer the same fate as the Sports Museum.
I love the Walker brothers coaching team at Ipswich Jets. Ben and Shane are a breath of fresh air, when it comes to their coaching philosophies and their sense of humour. Unfortunately the Jets have started the season poorly, with a 34-6 loss to Townsville Blackhawks t North Ipswich Reserve, on what was Defence Appreciation Day, given Amberley RAAF base is just outside Ipswich, and Townsville is a ‘barracks town’. There are big wraps on Townsville lock, Tom Gilbert.
Marie and I go to the movies to see ‘Green Book’, which is excellent. Breakfast beforehand at Harveys, where former Queensland Treasurer, Sir Lew Edwards is dining with his wife, Jane. Lunch at Queens Arms pub – squid (moi), Moreton Bay bugs sliders (Marie).
Our grandson, Ethan learns ‘Welcome to Country’ at Kindy. He also learns about the evils of litter and how a sultana packet could kill animals. An empty one, I presume.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13
Valleys Junior Rugby League Club seem to have plenty of kids this year, going by the multitude training at Emerson Park, Grange. In a rugby league report on Radio 4BC, the female newsreader says: ‘quick balls in play’ instead of ‘quick play-the-balls’. What hope is there!
Neighbor, Peter Skerman was once licensee of a pub on Thursday Island (many decades ago). He says he would lower bottles of rum, in a bucket, from the balcony of the pub, to the skippers of the tinnies (small boats), which come from surrounding islands. This was after normal trading hours at the pub, when the people returning to the outlying islands wanted something fortifying for the journey. ‘Skermo’ would lower an empty bucket from the landing, the skippers would put in the money, up would go the bucket and down it would come again, with the rum.
Greg Shannon, the North Queensland based member of our QRL History Committee, has interviewed former State forward, George Radeck for our audio project. Radeck played two games for Queensland in 1980.
THURSDAY, MARCH 14
The Billy Slater grandstand is officially named at Melbourne’s AAMI PARK, a fitting tribute to Melbourne Storm’s Test rugby league fullback, who hails from Innisfail in North Queensland. Storm beat the Broncos 22-12. Tully product, Thomas Flegler, makes his NRL debut, for Brisbane. Tully has produced many fine footballers, including former Test forward, Angelo Crema, and former Queensland forward, Danny Clifford. As the television cameras pan the Storm dressing rooms after the match, there is Roy Masters, the former St George coach, now newspaper columnist, enjoying a XXXX Gold. Good on you Roy, but I bet it doesn’t taste as good as a Reschs.
FRIDAY, MARCH 15
After Souths’ 26-16 win over the Roosters, the TV cameras are given access to the Rabbitohs’ dressing rooms at the SCG, as they belt out the team song, which starts with: ‘And now that we’re all round the bar’. I’m sure that will be punted one day, because of the chance it might offend someone. Brisbane Norths’ team song is the same, and I believe it was brought to Bishop Park by South Sydney legend, Clive Churchill when he had a stint in charge of the Devils, back in the late 1950s.
London Broncos beat Leeds Rhinos at Headingley Stadium, Leeds. Skysports commentator, Phil Clarke says there would be not better bus trip in Britain than London’s return to the capital that night.
SATURDAY, MARCH 16
Former New Zealand rugby league skipper, Nathan Cayless says he is happy to be back in league, as a coach of the New Zealand Warriors in the New South Wales Cup. He hated working in real estate.
North Queensland Cowboys beat St George Illawarra 24-12 in Townsville, and Cowboys’ forward, Josh McGuire and Saints’ rival, Jeremy Latimore shape up. I’m pretty sure Maguire called him ‘a pussy’. At the post-match Cowboys’ media conference – it seems every question from the journalists, to coach, Paul Green, starts with ‘You Must have been happy with….’
SUNDAY, MARCH 17
Former Test cricketer, Geoff ‘Mary’ Dymock phones ABC’s Macca for a chat. Geoff, nicknamed Mary, because he comes from Maryborough in Queensland, has been coaching cricket in the bush.
Gold Coast Titans have nothing in attack in their 21-0 loss to Canberra. Winger, Bailey Simonsson, a son of former All Black and North Sydney rugby league winger, Paul Simonsson, makes his NRL debut for the Raiders. Our nephew, Jed Arnett plays for Marist Brothers in a curtain raiser.
Malcolm Price, a former Great Britain rugby league player, has been inducted into Wales Rugby Union Hall of Fame. Price played two league Tests against the 1967 Kangaroos, when he was contracted to Rochdale Hornets.
People in a nearby town house leave a mattress on the street, as they move out. Great citizens.
1 A young Ben Walker
2 Danny Clifford (no 13) playing for Brisbane against North Qld. That’s Ron Tait on the right.
3 Action from the 1967 Kangaroo tour of England.