DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 3 2020.
In 2019, 28,593 females played rugby league in Australia, compared with 11,633 in 2015. Male participation rates dropped by 8,000 in the same period. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether this is a good news story for rugby league.
A friend, Keith Rooney tells a story about a mate, who, while serving in Vietnam, had a jumping jack mine, finish in the trench, next to him. It didn’t go off and he still has it at home.
Our youngest lad, Lliam stays at Shepparton in Victoria, on a business trip for his (solar) company, Supply Partners. Lliam is only 35 and the business is going well. Former Australian Rugby League Commission chairman, John Grant had a Lamborghini at 42. Something to aspire to, Lliam.
The Broncos officially farewell football manager, Scott Czislowski, a former Valleys and Brisbane representative fullback and one of the genuine good guys of the code.
Greg Adermann, a member of our QRL History Committee, wins pre-selection for the LNP in the Brisbane City seat of Pullenvale, and, as a result, will stand down from his media position with Stadiums Queensland.
Wuhan in China shuts down because of a new virus strain. No doubt it will be called the Chinese Flu.
Former Queensland State of Origin stars, Graham Quinn and Mitch Brennan, along with their former St George (Sydney) teammates, Mark Shulman, call into the Story Bridge Hotel as I am meeting with fellow members of the Beer and Beef Club committee. Graham tells me he was knocked senseless by an elbow to the head from Welshman, Eddie Cunningham, when Graham played for Queensland against English club, St Helens at Lang Park, Brisbane in 1976. I saw the match, and the following year saw Eddie play for Wales against France. Twenty four years later I saw Eddie’s brother, Kieran, play for Wales against Australia. One of the commercial television stations is at the Story Bridge, doing a piece on the cockroach races, which are to be held this Australia Day weekend. Pub licensee, John Deery says they get the cockroaches from a laboratory in Victoria, and it costs about $1,000 to get them up here. It’s a relief to know they don’t come from the hotel kitchen.
My bus home is delayed by a protest match of some kind. Might be about cruelty to cockroaches.
Kiwi, Alex Glenn will captain the Broncos in 2020. Not sure about that call. Would prefer a Queenslander to be in charge, and I don’t think Alex can be guaranteed his place in the starting side.
That ‘virus’ from China is on everyone’s mind now, and the contagious aspects makes people paranoid, including me. When our grandson, Connor puts his mouth to a bubbler, in the Grange Library playground, I pull him away quickly, giving the little lad a fright. It’s something I would do anyway, but there is more urgency now. Australia’s first positive case of what is official called Covid 19, is confirmed.
The Super league season is launched in England and Catalans Dragons’ Aussie import, James Maloney jokes that he was shocked when it was announced Sonny Bill Williams would be returning to league from union. “SBW told me he would never leave union, because he only had to make seven tackles a game,” Maloney said. “And that is in a big game”. SBW, who has signed with Canadian side, Toronto Wolfpack, features in the new Super League ad.
One of the new teachers at our son, Damien’s East Ayr Primary School is James Whitby, originally from Lismore in northern New South Wales, who was the Burdekin Roosters Rugby League Player of the Year in 2019.
My wife, Marie makes damper for Australia Day. Watch an indigenous ceremony from Sydney. There is a large crowd, mainly white Australians.
Those to receive Australia Day honors, include ‘rugby league identities’, Darryl Brohman, John McCoy, David Morrow and Pat Bailey, along with former Cowboys’ star, Matt Bowen’s mum, Lillian. Brohman, McCoy and Morrow are all broadcast media icons, and Brohman is a former Queensland player. Bailey is a long serving Cairns administrator. I always found her helpful and efficient when I interviewed her.
My brother, Andrew, who lives in Vietnam,0 attends Mass, and says locals are wearing masks, as protection against Covid. Andrew celebrates Australia Day at Shamrock Bar. Sort of makes sense.
1 A France v Wales Rugby League Test
2 Connor Ricketts
3 John McCoy (centre) with Peter Psaltis (left) and Paul Sawtell.