DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 6 2020
One of the commentators at Mount Maunganui – in the New Zealand v India cricket one day match – not sure which one – calls rugby league a ‘crude game’. It’s possible he thinks rugby union is sophisticated. To each his own. But, we can take it as read, that union has learnt more from league than we have learnt from the 15-man game.
Darren Foreman sends a delightful email about his father, former Newtown (Sydney) and Brisbane Wests’ halfback, Peter Foreman. Evidently, former Test winger, Ken Irvine, who was a league writer for the Gold Coast Bulletin at the time, said he would run nude through Southport if Wests (under Foreman’s coaching) won a game in 1987. They beat Easts quite early in the year, so Irvine piggy backed Foreman through the Southport Mall, from John Sattler’s pub, wearing a Wests’ jersey as a nappy.
Our youngest son, Lliam has his car broken into, in his garage at Auchenflower. Police say the suburb has been hit hard, in recent times.
Former Valleys’ rugby league skipper, Ian ‘Elke’ Sommer has died, suddenly, aged 68. A real gentleman, Ian was always in top shape, and his passing has shocked his many friends. An Easts Carina junior, Sommer started out as a centre, but was persuaded to switch to the pack by legendary Valleys’ coach, Henry Holloway. Sommer was a member of Valleys’ 1979 premiership side, which was captain-coached by Ross Strudwick.
A Hamilton Academical (Scotland) player looks to have expired in a soccer match against Aberdeen, after a minor collision, but then is able to walk from the field. They really don’t do themselves any favours, soccer players, with their theatrics, certainly not here in Australia where collision sports dominate, and soccer players are judged by those standards.
Broncos, Allan Langer, Mick Hancock, Jack Reed and Matt Gillette have visited former Courier-Mail sports scribe/editor, Paul Malone in the Princess Alexandra Hospital, where he has been a patient for some months, following a fall. ‘Scobie’ reminds me that he went straight from St Augustine’s College, Cairns, to News Ltd in Sydney, to undertake a journalism cadet-ship.
The Country Rugby League in New South Wales has come under the banner of the State body. I suppose it makes sense, given it will avoid duplication of services and admin. But it is also sad, and possibly a reflection of the diminished strength of the game in the bush.
Broncos’ veteran, Darius Boyd quits veganism after a brief experiment.
The Betoota Advocate (got to love it) urges Perth residents to stay home, with the Rugby League Nines to be staged in their fair city.
Noted broadcaster, John McCoy, who retired last month, is special guest at Beer and Beef Club lunch at Morrison Hotel, South Brisbane, with yours truly as MC. My wife, Marie attends the lunch and afterwards we watch the band, ‘Aubergine’ play at the weekly ‘Green Jam’ at South Bank. The Broncos and Cowboys play a quality game in the Nines in Perth.
The Luke Howard Memorial Award has been instigated by Caboolture Rugby Union Club, named after their former long serving player, who drowned off the Sunshine Coast last year. Luke was the son of our close friends, Rhonda and Terry Howard.
Newcastle local, Tex Hoy earns himself a Top 30 contract with the Knights after his efforts in the Perth Nines. Hoy is the son of top surfer, Matt Hoy. Former All Black, Marty Berry’s son, Rocco, from Wellington, plays rugby league for New Zealand Warriors. Marty played club rugby league in France at the end of his union career.
Channel 7 says Israel Folau will play in the ‘relative obscurity’ of Super League, at France based club, Catalans Dragons – as opposed to the relative obscurity of rugby union in Australia, I suppose. One of Catalans’ proudest sons was Elie Brousse, regarded as one of the finest forwards produced by France, in either rugby code. There was nothing obscure about the French national side of the late 1940s, early 1950s, when it matched, if not surpassed, rugby union’s Test side for prestige.
Nippers cancelled at Alva Beach, near Ayr in North Queensland, because of the heat!
When it comes to heat – Whatever happened to Marble Bar in Western Australia? Ian McNamara (Macca) reminds us that on the ABC weather reports, Marble Bar always had the highest temperature in the nation. You don’t hear it mentioned any more.
1 Ian Sommer
2 The band Aubergine play at South Bank, Brisbane
3 French rugby league captain, Puig Aubert is congratulated after a home series win over New Zealand in 1951.