DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 15 2019
MONDAY, APRIL 15 2019
The 13km Somerset Trail at Mt Mee is tackled by my wife, Marie and I. A family with a drone and a dog are having fun at Gantry Park, at the start of the walk, but neither the drone nor the dog are compatible with a national park. Chat to three botanists at one of the lookouts along the way. One was a National Parks Ranger in a previous life, having joined the service in 1971. He was based at Girraween in Queensland’s Granite Belt at one stage, and said he was very strict on things such as dogs. But drones weren’t around. We saw one kangaroo and lots of birds on our walk.
Radio TAB’s John McCoy poses the question – is the influx of Polynesians into the two rugby codes chasing other kids away, because of the size disparity? The answer would have to be YES. Former Wallaby hooker, Mark McBain says talent scouts and the pathways systems are to blame, because people are looking for a quick fix, through the size and power of the Polynesians.
Wake to the news Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral is ablaze. Marie and I have visited the cathedral a number of times, the first time in November, 1977 as part of a Trafalgar under-30 European tour, and most recently in 2015.
Chat to a former FM Radio personality, who says recreational drugs are rampant in sport.
Watch last 10 minutes of Catalans v Hull Super League match, with Hull managing an amazing extra time win.
Queensland coach, Kevin Walters’ three sons all play rugby league – one in the BRL, another at university and a third in the Queensland Cup.
Broncos’ forward, Payne Hass has been fined for using his mobile phone, while driving. As I enter our town house estate, after buying the paper and milk, a bloke in his late 30s drives out, cutting the corner, while looking at his mobile.
Marie and I babysit grandsons, Ethan and Connor, who devour pikelets, with lemon and sugar. I loved that combination, when I was a kid.
Fortitude Valley’s Florentine Grill proves a major disappointment, especially as they have a guest chef from Tuscany, who is paraded before the diners, after the meal. We ignore him, rather than upset him with our opinions. The night out was the idea of Harry and Milla Linari, and they are so upset, they insist on paying for our meal. Harry is of Italian heritage, his father having moved from Genoa in 1953, having been sponsored to work on a farm.
Learn of the passing of Pauline Symons, a great supporter of Brisbane Brothers’ rugby league club. Pauline and her husband, Lex ran a garage on Lutwyche Road, opposite the Kedron Park Hotel. Pauline and Lex were generous donors of prizes for best player awards.
South Sydney coach, Wayne Bennett whinges about Canterbury-Bankstown’s holding down tactics, after Souths’ 14-6 win. Both press conferences are hilarious, with some of the journalists contributing to the comedy, with their questions. South Sydney star, Greg Inglis had announced his retirement earlier in the week. Melbourne Storm winger, Josh Addo Carr pays a lovely tribute to his late grandfather, after the 21-20 loss to the Roosters in Melbourne. The mighty Roosters won in extra time, thanks to a Latrell Mitchell field goal.
Watch start of the Hull Super League derby (FC v Rovers), and there is a great crowd, great atmosphere.
Gold Coast Titans’ Head of Performance and Culture, Mal Meninga makes a plea for fans to become club members. I find these pleas can have the reverse effect. People want to be drawn to a club, or a match, by the success of the organisation or the appeal of the event, not by officials, coaches or whoever, ‘pleading’ with them to turn up.
FoxSports commentator, Brett Finch needs to fine tune his interviewing style, which borders on gibberish at times. I think it is nerves, and trying to be too nice.
Canterbury’s Jesse Marsche makes a great try saving tackle on Souths’ Bayley Sironen in a NSW Cup match at Belmore Oval.
Sunshine Coast Council deputy mayor, Tim Dwyer, a former Brisbane Brothers and Manly-Warringah player, says he enjoys my diary.
The ABC call Win Stadium, the Wollongong Showgrounds. Macca (ABC) interviews a lad about the book ‘Angels of East and West’, about the Royal Far West Home at Manly. My wife, Marie spent some time there, in the 1960s, when she needed respite from the family farm at Bangalow, because of a chronic knee complaint. A Ballina chap says there is no-one in the surf at at the main beach, even though it is a lovely day, such is the fear of shark attacks.
Former Murwillumbah High classmate, Andrew Meyenn is lecturing at uni 10 hours a week, but his wife, Cathy is retired. They have three grand kids. Andrew was wicket keeper in our First X1 at Murwillumbah High, and he was a mighty fine glove man.
African priest, Fr Leonard Uzuegba says Mass at St Columba’s Wilston. An anonymous parishioner has donated $100,000 towards church restoration work.
1 Marie Ricketts in Paris, 2015
2 Pauline Symons (right) with Margaret Hinze in 1976
3 Ex-Brothers players (from left) Peter Skerman, Bligh Davidson and Noel Russell
4 Murwillumbah High First XI, 1970.