DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 18 2019
‘Cash-only’ is the mantra at the Dayboro Hotel’s public bar on this Labor Day public holiday. No problem for me, but my younger brother, Jeffrey wanted to shout me a beer, after our Brisbane Valley drive, but only had plastic. Jeff and his wife, Ann are still doing it tough after the death of their talented eldest son, Kieran earlier in the year, and I thought it would help take their minds off things if we embarked on a country round trip. We drove from our place at Grange, in Brisbane’s inner north, to Mt Nebo, where the local cafe was so busy, and the service so slow. At Mt Glorious we walked the western ridge track, before having a picnic lunch in the Brisbane Valley, at Somerset Dam. So many motor cyclists. Our return journey took us to Mt Mee, via Delaney’s Creek. The 1km Picabeen walk was our leg stretch at Mt Mee, where there were so many muddy four wheel drive vehicles. Lots of ‘wild dog baiting’ signs in the countryside.
Our eldest boy, Damien sends a podcast: ‘How the Ipad rewrote the teenage brain’.
The last of Australia’s famous World War II Rats of Tobruk, Joe Cramp, dies in Lismore, aged 102. His dad was a pasteuriser at Byron Bay’s Dairy Factory. These days, the only thing pasteurised at Byron is the beer. Although a lot of interesting sights, go past your eyes. That’s a dad joke.
4BC news report carries a story about a missing man, Luke Howard, 35, who apparently has drowned off Old Woman Island on the Sunshine Coast, while out on a jet ski, fishing trip with a mate. A shiver goes down my spine. I have a strong feeling it is the son of our friends, Terry and Rhonda Howard, from Caboolture, and my suspicions are proved correct. Rhonda and her partner, Allen are currently in Townsville, on a road trip. (Luke’s body was recovered the next day).
The NRL’s Magic Weekend at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium kicks off with Cronulla beating Gold Coast Titans 26-18. The Titans’ kicking game leaves a lot to be desired. Mackay product, Tom Dearden has retained his halfback spot, after making his NRL debut for the Broncos the previous weekend. Former Bronco, Corey Parker says Dearden is ‘so nice’, you wouldn’t think he plays rugby league. Not sure how to take that.
There is a lovely photograph on Luke Howard’s Facebook page of him with Queensland State of Origin legends, Trevor Gillmeister, Jason Hetherington and Allan Langer. Broadcaster, Ray Hadley mentions Luke, as a result of the high number of notes from friends, to say what a great bloke he was. One comment says he was the smallest on the rugby (union) field, but always the toughest. Also, that he had the biggest heart.
Send a copy of the Lang Park history book to former Valleys’ rugby league prop, Al McInnes. The book, largely written by me, and published by Brian Lourigan, came off the presses back in 1995, but ‘Big Al’ did not know it was around until recently. The Grange post master is a dry character, who hates the pace of change and loves old music. His current playlist is from 1974.
Wide Bay Rugby League identity, Trevor Lindeberg enjoys an ale at the Stafford Tavern. Trevor, who helped form the Fraser Coast Men of League committee, has had pubs, and one stage ran the newsagency at Kingscliff on the Tweed Coast.
Max Plath, son of former Bronco John Plath, is chosen in Queensland Secondary Schools rugby union side.
Manly coach, Des Hasler is sarcastic at his press conference, after the Sea Eagles’ 26-10 loss to the Broncos.
The Continuous Call Team on 4BC/2GB talk about magicians, so this is my cue to phone, to publicise the upcoming Ross Livermore Memorial Lecture, which will be delivered by former Queensland player and later coach, Michael Hagan. I relate the story of world famous magician, Phil Cass, who played rugby league for Brisbane Souths. Cass was a strong finisher, but did not have soft hands. “He can pull a rabbit out of his arse, but he can’t catch a football,” said Souths’ coach, Bob McCarthy.
Parramatta suffer an embarrassing 64-10 loss to Melbourne Storm. My wife, Marie and her sister, Carolyn Galea go to Suncorp for the three matches, in particular, in Carolyn’s case, the Bulldogs v Newcastle clash, given she is a rabid Dogs’ fan. Newcastle win 22-10 with halfback, Mitchell Pearce in top form. But Newcastle fullback, Kalyn Ponga is the crowd darling, and CAP Security Services chief, Dale Hall, a former top footballer, does his best to ensure selfies are taken in a civilised manner.
Spectators at Bradford City v Lincoln Soccer match in UK observe 56 seconds silence in memory of the 56 people who lost their lives in the Third Division match between the two clubs at Bradford City Stadium in 1985. I remember the horrific images on the day of the fire. It was an accident waiting to happen, given the shambolic state of old wooden grandstands across the UK at the time, and the fact fans were allowed to smoke.
I couldn’t believe how ancient the facilities were in the old grand stand at Wilderspool, when I attended my first rugby league match in England in October 1977, with Warrington hosting Leeds. It reminded me of the old wooden grandstand at the Murwillumbah Showgrounds, which was effectively condemned, but in which I still sat, to watch the home side Brothers, play against visiting sides. The Wilderspool Stadium stand burnt down a few years later, but the fire happened overnight, and not when a match was being played.
Mother’s Day lunch at the Kedron home of our daughter-in-law, Channelle’s sister, Candice, and her husband, Dan.
Queensland Residents beat New South Wales 44-24 at Langlands Park, Brisbane with centre, Delouise Hoeter (Wynnum-Manly), a graduate of Keebra Park High School on the Gold Coast, scoring three tries for the Maroons. He was born in Tonga. NSW fullback, Kieran Moss played for Halifax and Hull Kingston Rivers in the UK.
Tweed Heads Seagulls beat Illawarra in the national under-18 final.
The Roosters suffer a host of injuries in their 30-24 win over Canberra Raiders. Raiders’ winger, Jordan Rapana knees Matthew Ikuvalu, but is not even penalised. How can that be?
1 Jeff and Ann Ricketts with Marie Ricketts at Dayboro Pub
2 Warrington at Wilderspool in 1975
3 Al McInnes takes the ball up for Valleys against Souths. Brad Sully goers in low, while Gary Grienke waits to assist. Wally Lewis supports Al.
4 Murwillumbah Brothers in action at the town’s showgrounds in the 1970s. Noel Holmes has the ball.