DIARY UPDATE: Week 26, 2020

DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER

WEEK 26 2019
Places in 17-man Amco Cup rugby league squads, back in the mid-1970s, were much sought after, given the competition often involved a trip to Sydney to play at Leichhardt Oval, in a live televised match, a big deal for bush footballers in particular, and to a lesser extent, Brisbane club players, particularly if it meant a game against a Sydney club. The Cup was one of the topics of discussion when I caught up with my former Brisbane Brothers’ teammates, Murray Schultz and Clem Hovi for a coffee. Murray said his great mate, Wayne O’Keeffe, a former Penrith player, is still dirty on the fact Murray took his place for an Amco Cup quarter final against Balmain at Leichhardt, in ’76. Murray had a huge night, after the 19-3 loss to the Tigers, missing the team’s flight home the next day. Murray’s son, Ryan, a prominent rugby union coach, is on job keeper at Brothers (Union). Murray said he played one game of union, when he was a National Serviceman at Wagga Wagga. Clem was a member of the CMF (Citizens’ Military Forces). The closest I got was secondary school army cadets. Neighbour, Jim Gannon played league for University in Townsville and union for Teachers. He mentions Keith Shiels and John Meecham, both Townsville Foley Shield reps. Meecham and Gannon were flat-mates, and Jim reckons John was good enough to play for Australia.
Murray says Newcastle’s young star, Bradman Best is the son of a Collinsville coal miner.
Former Test forward, Jason Ryles, now part of Melbourne Storm’s staff, says coach, Craig Bellamy has the best ‘blow-up’ of any coach he has experienced, but England rugby union’s Aussie coach, Eddie Jones is not far behind. Ryles is to join the England staff at the end of the NRL season. Former Melbourne star, Scott Hill laments the way coaching has gone in the last 20 years, with playmakers few and far between. He says kids should play touch, as part of their prep for league.
Former Broncos’ centre, Brent Tate says he wouldn’t mind being general manager of football at the Broncos. It could happen one day.
Media identity, John McCoy, a member of our QRL History Committee, gets his OAM at Government House, Brisbane. His wife, Carmel, their two daughters and Frank Moore are his guests.
Ironside Park, St Lucia is the chosen walk for Marie and I today, followed by a Chinese takeaway in a park overlooking the Brisbane River, near Qld Uni.
Stafford Tavern barmaid, Sharon, says she walks 19,000 steps a day, delivering drinks to tables.
Letter writer in ‘Courier-Mail’ mentions Wayne Bennett as Brisbane Souths’ coach in 1980. Wrong. Bob McCarthy coached the Magpies that year. Bennett was at Brothers. 
It is 60 years ago today that Tweed Heads’ product, Lionel Morgan became the first indigenous man to represent Australia in either rugby code, when he played a league Test against France at the Gabba, and scored two tries.
FIRDAY, JULY 3
Christmas in July dinner at Portabella’s at Albany Creek is a great success for our Playgroup, group of friends. The staff are lovely. One of the barmen is from South London. Harry Linari, now 77, said his family moved to Australia from Italy after World War II. They lived in a village, which, at one stage, was in the middle of the Nazis v Allies combat zone. His family lived in a cave during the height of the fighting.
Men of League Foundation magazine editor, Neil Cadigan has visited Chris Perry at Alva Beach in the Burdekin region of North Queensland. Chris played in England for Wakefield Trinity, when Neil was CEO. Chris’s wife, Sue is Burdekin Deputy Mayor.
Covid dramas in Victoria, thanks to ‘Comrade Dan’ (Premier, Daniel Andrews) and his incompetent Government.
What do Australia and the Spice Girls have in common?
In both cases it was Victoria who let them down.
Valleys seniors are training at Emerson Park, Grange ahead of the re-start of the Brisbane Rugby League.
Broncos players are in tears after their 26-16 loss to a gutsy New Zealand Warriors outfit.
Gareth Walker has an article in England’s Daily Mirror about the Ashes winning 1970 Great Britain side, coached by John Whiteley and captained by Frank Myler. Those players were honoured with a commemorative medal earlier this year, at a British Lions’ reunion, to mark 50 years since the tour of Australia and New Zealand.
Live music in Uxbridge Street, Grange, just four houses up from our estate. The music is provided by a father and son, and nearly 100 residents turn up for the free concert.
Manly’s Addin Fanua-Blake calls referee, Grant Atkins a ‘f…..retard’ during a match against Newcastle and is subsequently fined $20,000. Fanua-Blake is the opposite to a class act.
It was minus three in Stanthorpe today.
I
1 Lionel Morgan
2 1970 Great Britain stars (from left) skipper, Frank Myler; Ray Dutton and Chris Hesketh. Coach, John Whiteley is in the background.

One response to “DIARY UPDATE: Week 26, 2020

  1. Steve
    The great Lionel Morgan was not the first indigenous player to represent Australia in either of the Rugby codes.
    It was Cecil Ramalli who played for the Wallabies in 1938. He was the son of an Indian father and an Indigenous mother.
    He served in the Australian Army in World War Two and was a prisoner of war.
    I do not understand why Rugby Australia do not acknowledge Cecil Ramalli. They acknowledge Lloyd McDermott who first played for the Wallabies in 1962 two years after Lionel Morgan played for the Kangaroos.
    Lioyd Mc Dermott became an eminent barrister and had a bigger public profile than Ramalli.
    If there was any justice in those times, Frank Fisher would have been the first Indigenous Kangaroo before any of these other players.

    Regards

    John Leahy

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