DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 7 2020
The Queensland Rugby League is searching for a ‘brand’ name for their Residents’ side. The Origin team has claim over ‘Maroons’, which was the State Residents’ ‘name’ before Origin started in 1980. The Residents’ teams were still called the Maroons up until 1988, when it somehow became sacrilege to use the term, for any team other than the flagship Origin side. QRL Media boss, Michael Hillier asks if I have any suggestions, but I come up blank. Ironically, this season probably will be the last time a Residents’ game will be held, because there is a feeling the selection of the teams is too confusing, given the affiliations the NRL clubs have with Qld Cup and NSW Cup sides. Former Cowboys’ hooker, Aaron Payne is the tip to be coach.
I provide voice-overs for the QRL’s 40 Years of Origin on-line project, under the expert guidance of QRL digital guy, Bill Scurfield, a former Group 11 (New South Wales Country) rep.
Our youngest son, Lliam’s solar energy business, ‘Supply Partners’, is having dramas getting stock from China, because of the changed circumstances caused by the emergence of the worrying virus in Wuhan.
A snake eats our niece, Sonia Pope’s parrot at Lismore. Our grandson, Ethan Ricketts says a tornado will swallow the whole world. Greta has a lot to answer for.
More serious matters are raised at the Stafford Tavern, including the quality of meat pies at Woodenbong, in northern New South Wales, and the liquid lunches once enjoyed by public servants, federal and state. Jim Gannon was full of praise for the pies.
Our daughter, Melanie and her fiance’, Greg Mariotto arrive from Singapore and we have a lovely night, chatting over dinner – my wife, Marie’s famous beef ‘Strog’.
A mate’s wife is stressed as a result of classroom situations, at a school on the south-side of Brisbane. Only three parents (28 pupils) turned up at parent/teacher night. Obviously, they really care about their kids’ future.
Melanie and Greg officially tie the knot at a Brisbane registry office, but the ‘ceremonial’ aspect will take place in Thailand later in the year, when I will be able to walk our daughter down the aisle.
I MC a Men of League Foundation lunch at Brothers’ Leagues Club, Cairns, interviewing Broncos’ CEO, Paul White and former star player, Jharal Yow Yeh (now part of the club’s media unit); and Cowboys’ CEO, Jeff Reibel and football manager, Peter Parr. White is a little rattled when I ask him about his strained relationship with former Broncos’ coach, Wayne Bennett, his former coach at Brisbane Souths. “I wish you hadn’t asked me that, Steve,” he said. “Hopefully, one day, things will be repaired.” White reveals that star forward, David Fifita was the victim of extortion during a trip to Bali. I don’t think that has come out in the media. Yow Yeh says Tommy Dearden is the club’s best halfback. Brodie Croft, ex-Melbourne Storm, has been signed as ‘The Man’. I tell all and sundry at Cairns, that if Croft was that good, the Storm would not have let him go. The function was held the day before the Broncos v Cowboys trial at Barlow Park, Cairns. Reibel is pushing for a rectangular field in Cairns. Barlow Park is more suited to Aussie rules. Also in attendance were the likes of former Broncos’ star, Michael De Vere and former Cowboys and Warriors’ star, Micheal Luck. My fellow history committee member, Greg Shannon made the trip up from Mission Beach to attend. I travelled to the lunch with MOL State manager, Andrew Blucher and wellbeing officer, Roxanne Moates.
The lunch shows a profit of $3,300 for Men of League.
Cairns Brothers’ Leagues Club is impressive and they have a worthy tribute to the past, with photographs and trophies adorning a downstairs bar. One of the men to feature prominently is Stan Williams, who represented Queensland. His son, Chris, played for Valleys in Brisbane in the 1980s.
Watch English Super League. Wakefield Trinity winger, Tom Johnstone is a great finisher. Toronto Wolfpack are brave in their loss to Warrington.
Marie’s nephew, Harry Steele plays cricket for North Lakes against Toombul, but the grass at Boondall State School is so long it makes fielding and scoring runs extremely difficult. There is no excuse for the grass not being mowed, when council mowers sometimes turn up in winter, when there is nothing but bare earth. Cut back on the winter mowing, and do more in summer. And if it is a school ground, organise a summer roster. Harry is a talented off-spinner.
Family day at the Kangaroo Point apartment of my sister, Gay Lynch and her husband, David. The lads adjourn for a few ales at nearby Story Bridge Hotel. Watch great All Stars, with the Indigenous defeating the Maori 34-14 in Melbourne. Tyrone Roberts wins the Preston Campbell Medal as player of the match. Across the ditch, former Kiwi star, Joe Vagana’s son features in a trial for the Warriors against Storm at Manawatu. There are five Rotorua High lads in the Warriors’ side.
The World Club Challenge match between the Roosters and Wigan in England is high quality, with the Roosters emerging 20-8 winners. Brett Morris is man of the match after scoring three tries.
There are lots of butterflies, after the wet weather. As I walk over a Kedron Brook bridge, a cyclist comes round the corner at a great rate of knots, and a dad, with his little boy, chats him. The cyclist shakes his head, as if the dad is a dickhead! No mate. It’s the other way round.
Family dinner at our youngest son, Lliam and his wife, Channelle’s house at Auchenflower, followed by a slide night, at the request of our son-in-law, Greg Mariotto. I don’t think he will ask again.
1 Stan Williams. A Cairns rugby league hero
2 Good times at David and Gay Lynch’s Kangaroo Point unit
3 Lliam Ricketts (left) and Chris Watts discuss world affairs
4 Greg Mariotto (left) with Paddy Lynch and his dad, David.