DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 21 2020
Tallebudgera Nature Reserve is closed, but what the hell! If you wait for National Parks to open tracks in Queensland, you will never get to walk. That’s not having a go at the poor men and women who work in the field. It IS having a shot at the State Government, which loves to boast about the declaration of National Parks and Reserves, without then allocating the appropriate money to manage them. It turns out, only a small section of the track has subsided, so my wife, Marie and easily negotiate our way to Fleay’s Nature Reserve, before buying morning tea at heritage listed West Burleigh General Store. Fish and chips and a Portuguese tart for lunch, bought at Custard Canteen, out the front of what used to be the Coast’s most famous music venue, The Playroom. Memories of West Australian show band, The Troupadors, come flooding back.
‘Linked-in’ with former Manly-Warringah rugby league centre, Sam Harris, who is currently coaching rugby union in Japan. ‘Up the Silvertails’, he says.
Former Test rugby league forward, Bob McCarthy tells Queensland Times (Ipswich) columnist, Michael Nunn, the inaugural Broncos’ coaching job was his, but Broncos’ directors changed their minds, after Sydney super coach, Jack Gibson urged the new franchise to go all out Wayne Bennett, who was assistant coach at Canberra Raiders at the time.
A river walk at Fig Tree Pocket, in Brisbane’s west, is our boredom buster today.
The NRL teams are in ‘The Courier-Mail’. The footy is back! ‘God Bless (ARLC chairman) Peter V’Landys’, says my youngest brother, Stewart.
Our GP, Dr Derek Tisdall, is to retire. Now 72, he comes from a family of newspaper people and loves reading the printed word, over morning coffee.
New Farm Park is the starting point of our boredom busting walk today. We walk as far as the Sydney Street Jetty, and then buy brisket rolls from Double Shot.
Neighbour, Len O’Brien and I walk to former Brothers’ winger, Peter Skerman’s house, in Agincourt Street, for a few tinnies in the back yard, where the parrots are feeding, and Peter’s wife, Margaret has a tray of cheese, chips and nuts ready for us chaps. Margaret’s son, Jeff Pavey, a former league player at Wynnum High, played a big role in Powderfinger’s recent YouTube concert. Jeff’s business, International Lighting Design, is located at Ashmore on the Gold Coast, and has been hit hard by restrictions imposed because of this wretched ‘Chinese Flu’.
Then it is home for the footy – Broncos v Eels, Parramatta winning 34-6. The Broncos had won both their games before lockdown, but they looked ordinary tonight, under new rules, designed to speed up the game. Former Broncos’ media manager, Trad McLean, who has taken a redundancy, watches the match from home, for the first time in 13 years. He wishes the team well, on social media, and reminds people that the club has the biggest commercial footprint in Australian sport.
There is a tribute to former Australian captain-coach, Arthur Summons before the match, but it is all too brief, given his standing in the game.
There is sand bagging work being done by the council at the mouth of the Maroochy River, as Marie and I enjoy brunch at Cotton Tree, after a look at the Bli Bli Wetlands, further up the river. I believe the original plan was to build a boulder wall. Former Test hooker, Kerrod Walters’ Cotton Tree menswear shop, has been replaced by a shoe shop.
Two more excellent NRL games. The team I follow – the Roosters – have a 28-12 win over my wife’s team, Souths. Victor Radley – what a tackler! And the Morris twins, Brett and Josh, show no signs of age getting the better of them.
The NRL’s digital arm faces huge cuts. The QRL website carries a nice story about the resurgence of junior rugby league at Bowen in North Queensland, where the senior game is essentially dead. One of my good mates, Murray Schultz, who played for Brothers in the 1974 Brisbane grand final, comes from Bowen, having played up there when the senior game was strong.
Marie picks 19 bush nuts on her morning walk. The location of the tree is top secret.
Canberra Raiders’ English import, George Williams, has a strong game in the 22-6 win over premiers, Melbourne. Williams idolised former Australian five eighth, Trent Barrett when Barrett played for Wigan in England in 2007-08.
On ABC Radio, ‘Macca’ (Ian McNamara) talks about the demise of the local newspaper, something which has been in the headlines this week, following News Ltd’s decision to shut a myriad of mastheads.
Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk lifts travel restrictions within the state.
Newcastle halfback, Mitchell Pearce lasts only four minutes in the Knights’ gutsy 14-14 draw with Penrith. He put his head in the wrong place, making a low tackle. Low tackling will come back into vogue, to some degree, with the game being so much quicker, and a lot of players will have to work on their technique.
1 Rugby league great, Bob McCarthy, playing for Australia against Widnes at Naughton Park in 1973. That’s Mick Adams on the right
2 I beg your pardon….Marie Ricketts in the New Farm Rose Garden.
3 Brisbane River
4 Murray Schultz (second from left) and his wife, Lee at Brisbane Brothers’ dance, at the leagues club at Grange. Jim Connor and his wife, Pat are also in the picture.