DIARY UPDATE: Transition 2019 to 2020

DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
TRANSITION 2019 TO 2020
Our nephew, Xavier Ricketts and Gemma Wuersching wed in a beautiful ceremony at Toowoomba’s Gabbinbar Homestead, surely one of the best wedding venues in Australia. Gemma had been ‘Madam Butterfly’ on a float in Toowoomba’s annual Carnival of the Flowers in 2006. Gemma’s father, Greg is a Toowoomba Souths’ rugby league stalwart and we have a great chat about footy. Tahiti is the honeymoon destination for the newlyweds.
See in the New Year at our youngest son, Lliam and his wife, Channelle’s house at Auchenflower, back in Brisbane. Lliam, our eldest boy, Damien and son-in-law, Greg Mariotto, play late-night totem tennis in the back yard, as fireworks light up the sky. The music playlist is hilarious, with Damien having set it up, after requests from young and old. I still think the ’60s and ‘70s kills today’s music. Whatever boomer!
My former sports editor, Barry Dick says former Queensland fullback, Colin Scott is engaged in a State of Origin project of some kind. This is the 40th anniversary year of Australia’s greatest team sporting event.
The New Zealand Warriors Rugby League Club has adopted bush fire ravaged, Tenterfield in New South Wales, as a charity cause for 2020.
From China, there is news that eight doctors have been detained for some reason or other, in Wuhan.
Bushfires hit Lake Conjola on the NSW South Coast and Rugby League Team of the Century forward, Ron Coote loses his home in the inferno. My wife’s cousin, Joanne Howell also has a property there. They are preparing to move to the area, from Botany in Sydney. “It’s a terrifying situation,” Joanne tells Marie.
My brother, Jeff and his wife, Ann have been married 38 years today. Their wedding was held at Casino, Ann’s home town.
Family day at our place, and I caution our youngest son, Lliam for ‘bombing’ in the community pool. “That makes me feel young again, Dad,” he says.
News Ltd’s top sports reporter, Robert ‘Crash’ Craddock says former Queensland cricketer, Malcolm Francke used to bowl up against the Stafford Shopping centre wall, to keep in shape. The Sri Lankan born leg spinner last played for Queensland in the 1985-86 season, and I interviewed him once or twice.
Marie and I attend a gathering of family and friends at Brisbane’s amazing Howard Smith Wharves complex under the Story Bridge. There is not a urinal in the men’s toilets at our busy bar. I mean, really!
The bush-fire situation in Australia is frightening, distressing. So sad, on many fronts. A luxury resort on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, a resort Marie and I dreamed of staying in, was destroyed by an unstoppable fire. A father and son were killed on their farm, in the same fire.
Marie and I watch Australian ‘Western’, Sweet Country, starring Bryan Brown and Sam Neil. Not bad.
How long will it be, before a security guard is clobbered in the Big Bash cricket? They sit with their backs to the action, and with the way the ball is struck these days, they could be beamed by a low, missile shot, which could prove fatal.
Learn of the passing of former Kiwi Rugby League forward, Frank Mulcare from the West Coast of the South Island. He played 18 Tests for New Zealand between 1951 and 1956, including four Test wins in a row over Australia. Mulcare was 90 at the time of his passing, and had been farming up until recent times. He married an Australian lass, and wanted to play and coach here, but could not get a clearance from the NZRFL.
Salford centre, Dan Sarginson wins the Peter Smethurst Medal for his efforts against Swinton, in a pre-season rugby league match in England. The Medal is named after a former Swinton star.
1 Our son-in-law, Greg Mariotto with our grand daughter, Evan at the Toowoomba wedding of Xavier Ricketts and Gemma Wuersching. That’s Jeff Ricketts in the background.
2 Emma and Damien Ricketts with daughters, Evan and Parker at the wedding
3 Brothers, Damien and Lliam Ricketts – totem tennis stars
4 Frank Mulcare (right) playing for the Kiwis against New South Wales.

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