DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 51 2019.
Former Sydney Wests’ rugby league skipper and ABC commentator, Warren Boland has had open heart surgery. Last season, Warren and former Test prop and Brisbane Brothers’ legend, David Wright, were commentators for telecasts of Easts’ home games (at Langlands Park) in the Intrust Super Cup competition, an initiative funded by Easts.
I have Christmas Eve drinks at Stafford Tavern, and everyone is in good spirits.
Learn of the passing of former Great Britain rugby league forward, Frank Foster, who played for a number of clubs, including Barrow, Hull Kingston Rovers and Bradford Northern. Foster, a noted hard man, played one Test – against Australia at White City, London in 1967, when he sickened Australian skipper, Peter Gallagher with a high shot. Gallagher played on, leading the Kangaroos to victory, to square the Ashes series.
Lovely Christmas Day family lunch at the Kedron home of our daughter-in-law, Channelle’s sister, Candice and her husband, Dan. Our grandson, Ethan does a ‘Welcome to Country’ for me, something he learnt at ‘Kindy’. Our daughter, Melanie Mariotto and her husband, Greg enjoy a Christmas BBQ in Western Australia.
Dutch violinist, Andre Rieu’s sopranos bring tears to my eyes, as they sing ‘When Christ is Born’.
Major drama at the home of former Broncos’ rugby league hooker, John Driscoll, in Uxbridge Street, Grange, near our town house estate. A drug affected man stole a car from John’s driveway, and rammed through his electronic gate. I saw the immediate aftermath, as I drove down Uxbridge Street, with people still scurrying everywhere, some of them in a state of shock and bewilderment at what happened, in this quiet, suburban street, The police took the alleged perpetrator away, after something of a citizen’s arrest.
Joe Burns, who comes from Gordon Park, just across Kedron Brook, from our place, gets a first ball duck opening the batting for Australia in the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand at the MCG. Our youngest lad, Lliam opens a XXXX Gold at 11.08 a.m. Greg Mariotto opens a Byron Bay beer at 12.05 p.m. Commentator and former Australian cricketer, Mark Waugh bags the catering at Derbyshire Cricket in England, particularly the ‘thin onion soup’. Our Derbyshire friends, Cliff and Jane Rodgers would not be impressed.
Our daughter, Melanie Mariotti and her husband, Greg have morning tea at our place, and bring Jarrah honey from Western Australia. Family night at my sister, Gay Lynch and her husband, David’s Kangaroo Point apartment.
SUNDAY, DECEDMBER 30
Toowoomba is the Ricketts’ family focus today. My nephew, Xavier, an officer in the Australian Army, is to marry Toowoomba girl, Gemma Wuersching tomorrow. After booking into our apartment, Marie and I have a drink at Irish Club Hotel, before catching up with family members at Muller Bros Rooftop Bar, followed by dinner at Fitz’s pub.
1 Former Great Britain forward, Frank Foster (right) and Bradford Northern teammate, Glen Beaumont
2 Christmas cheers at Stafford Tavern, from left, Len O’Brien, Dave Corbett, ‘Rooster’ Phil and Keith Daley
3 Lliam Ricketts on BBQ duty at Kedron, on Christmas Day
4 Family night at Kangaroo Point (from left) Steve Ricketts, Greg Mariotto, David Lynch and Andrew Ricketts.