DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 15 2020
Next door neighbour, Len O’Brien and I have a drink out the front of our respective town houses at Grange, Brisbane – maintaining social distancing of course – to continue some semblance of normality in these trying Covid times, with pubs, cafes and restaurants shut. Some of our neighbours, particularly of the older, female variety, think we are a pair of drunks. Len drinks ‘Hop Thief’ and Carlton Dry, while I stick to Cooper’s Pale. One of those older ladies – she is 90 – admits to having had three glasses of wine last night, instead of the usual one.
My former Murwillumbah Brothers’ teammate, Greg Grainger sends a photograph of one of the early Brothers’ teams, taken in front of ‘the hill’ at Murwillumbah Showgrounds. I remember that hill as a pre-season training torture run, but also as a lovely place to relax on a blanket, looking down at events, like the Tweed District Agricultural Show.
Former Test hooker, Steve Walters steps down as Queensland State of Origin team manager, after 20 years. I always found ‘Boxhead’ great company, when I covered camps from 2000 to 2012. That doesn’t mean he gave me heaps of inside gossip. Far from it. But he was great company.
Prime Minister, Scott Morrison says we face at least another four weeks in lockdown. Happy days.
Our eldest lad, Damien and his wife, Emma enjoy fresh Grunter (or black bream) for dinner, courtesy of a neighbour.
Legendary former Broncos’ halfback, Allan ‘Alfie’ Langer says young Bronco, Tom Dearden is a future super star. Alf confirms that Broncos’ trainer, Kelvin Giles would give him race results during games. Alf is noted punter.
Recently retired SkySports (England) commentator, Eddie Hemmings picks his Super League dream team – all ‘Poms’, except for Tongans Tevita Vaikona and Apollo Perelini; and Kiwi, Richie Blackmore.
Wynnum-Manly captain, Mitch Cronin has died, in what appears to have been a tragic accident at his home. Mitch was one of the most respected figures in Queensland Rugby League.
I watch finish of the 1994 Broncos v North Sydney semi-final. Good stuff. North Sydney won 15-14, with a Jason Taylor field goal the difference.
Former Taree United and Brisbane Norths’ forward, Murray Cowan has watched ‘Another Bloody Sunday’, on my recommendation, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The doco. is about the struggling Doncaster Rugby League Club, back in the 1970s. Murray played for Rochdale Hornets against Doncaster, home and away in the late 1980s, scoring a try in the home match.
There is a photograph in ‘The Sunday-Mail’ purporting to be from the inaugural State of Origin match in 1980. It is a common mistake, because many people think the only game Arthur Beetson played for Queensland, was that first Origin match. He also played for Queensland (Residents) twice in 1981, at Lang Park and Leichhardt Oval, and this photo is from ’81.
Movies that Marie and I watched during week included Irish production, ‘Animals’; Creed 2; Bridge of Spies; Wolf of Wall Street and Rocket Man (thumbs up for all of them).
Marie also watched ‘Downton Abbey, the Movie’ and ‘Ladies in Black’, but gave up on ‘Jane Austin book Club’.
1 Murwillumbah Brothers’ 1962 reserve grade team photograph taken at the Showgrounds The captain is Ray Wise
2 Steve Walters (third from right) after Australia’s 1992 World Cup final win over Britain at Wembley
3 A young Allan Langer
4 Richie Blackmore playing for Leeds against Wigan
5 Artie Beetson leaves the field after Queensland Residents’ 22-9 loss to New South Wales at Leichhardt Oval in 1981
6 Artie Beetson (background) in the inaugural State of Origin match. NSW centre, Mick Cronin is tackled by Greg Oliphant, with Rod Morris there to assist.