DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 29 2020
North Queensland Cowboys’ coach, Paul Green, stands down from his post, effective immediately, with Josh Hannay to take over for the rest of the season. FoxSports commentator, Ben Ikin talks up the Walker brothers, Ben and Shane, for the New Zealand Warriors’ job (after the sacking of Stephen Kearney), but it will take a brave club to appoint two brothers as head-coaches. Kearney’s deputy, Todd Payten has the role for the rest of the season, but has indicated he wants to live in Australia. He shapes as the man to replace Green.
Radio TAB’s Gerard Daffy says kicking in the AFL is atrocious. Good heavens. That’s supposed to be their primary skill. Maybe they are concentrating too much on setting cross country running records.
Introduce our grandson, Ethan to the delights of ‘Astro Boy’, a Japanese cartoon series. Our daughter, Melanie wrote a protest letter to the ABC, when they took it off air, many years ago.
Toronto Wolfpack withdraw from the rest of the 2020 English Super League season, and there are grave doubts about the staff being paid. I always feared it would end in tears. So many of league’s expansion projects go belly up, after promising starts.
My wife, Marie and I have morning tea at Sirromet Winery, Mt Cotton. The service is slack, and that is being kind. Our previous visits had proved pleasurable, but not today. And things are so quiet. It is not as if the staff are rushed off their feet. Excellent fish and chips from Lighthouse, Cleveland. Eat in the car, given the cold weather.
A friend, who had morning tea at the cafe at the Broncos’ Red Hill HQ, says he heard injured, former NSW Origin star, Jack Bird say his Brisbane teammates were arrogant.
St Mary’s Toowoomba, beat Coombabah High (Gold Coast) in an Allan Langer Cup, play-off match.
As chairman of the Queensland Rugby League History Committee, I am a guest of the Museum of Brisbane, for a tour of their ‘The Storytellers Exhibition. Our committee provided artefacts for a display area, which revolves around the suburb of Milton, where Lang Park (now Suncorp Stadium) is located. Curator, Emma McLean, takes noted photographer, Peter Fischman; tennis identity, Helen Lunn and yours truly, on a walk through the various display areas. Helen has a close association with the Milton Tennis Courts. She shows me a program of a Sweden v USA Zone final played at Milton, as well as a photo of Australian tennis great, Frank Sedgeman, showing how pigeon-toed he is. I am pigeon-toed, and my father, Jon compared me to Sedgeman. Peter grew up at Alderley, and recalls being chased by bodgies, who were on horse-back. He went to State High, and, in his young days, surfed at Byron Bay and Broken Head. He has donated photographs to the Storytellers display, while Helen contributed items associated with tennis.
The demolition of the Travelodge at Roma Street is well advanced, and good riddance to one of this state’s ugliest buildings. I covered a host of Queensland State of Origin medicals there, the most memorable, the one where skipper, Wally Lewis tried to prove his fitness by running up the hallway. How he didn’t collect a teammate, I’m blowed if I know. I half expected him to fly out the window at the end of the hall, given we all thought Wally had super powers.
My wife, Marie and I have a lovely lunch at Port Office Hotel, where licensee, Nick Gregorski comes over for a chat. The public bar is being painted, and things are getting back to normal, after a fire in the kitchen, and then Covid.
My former Murwillumbah Brothers’ teammate, Greg Grainger sends a lovely ‘Big League’ story about another Brothers’ boy, the late Ron Saddler, saving the life of a county council workmate at Randwick in Sydney, in 1966. Saddler, who was signed by Easts in Sydney from Brothers, at the end of the 1963 season, went to the aid of his mate, after he touched live wires while working on a telegraph pole.
The ‘fish cart’ in Shand Street, Enoggera, sells excellent produce. The gentleman who fronts the roadside ‘business’, knows his products and is very helpful, although a little blunt in his manner. But he is good natured, as he showed by helping an old lady across the road. A bloke wearing a Queensland State of Origin jersey, storms off, when the ‘fish cart man’, tells him to keep 1.5 metres back from the cart – Covid rules.
Recently retired Courier-Mail rugby union writer, Jim Tucker has lunch at Regatta Hotel, courtesy of former Wallabies, Tim Horan and Daniel Herbert, as well as media personality, Michael Blucher.
Wests-Tigers Kiwi prop, Russell Packer is guilty of a shocking crusher tackle on Parramatta fullback, Clint Gutherson.
L’equipe will telecast Catalans Dragons rugby league games in France, after Be-in Sport opted out.
Our eldest son, Damien teaches his daughter, Parker in a ‘Prep Open Day’ at East Ayr State School, where Damien is deputy principal.
Broncos’ forward, Andrew Fifita signs with Gold Coast Titans. He is a Gold Coast product, so it is fitting in that respect.
Some of South Sydney dummy half, Damien Cook’s forward passes are so blatant. Canberra Raiders’ skipper, Jarrod Croker just shakes hands after games. None of the hugging overkill for him.
Former Test halfback, Scott Prince kicks eight from eight in Valleys’ win over Pine Rivers in the Brisbane Rugby League, and is named man of the match. He came up against fellow Mount Isa identity, Brenton Stonier. Since announcing his comeback, Prince has made one or two appearances at Stafford Tavern, where some of the Valleys’ faithful gather.
The Gold Coast club competition resumes today.
Former Tweed Heads Seagulls’ prop, Paul Thwaites says Seagulls’ legend, the late Tom Searle, and Valleys’ Brisbane rep. prop, Frank Clancy were the biggest influences on his career. Paul and his wife live at Poona on Great Sandy Strait. Paul says legendary Seagulls trainer’, Howard ‘Spin’ Buchanan, died earlier this year. ‘Spin’ carried the Olympic torch through Tweed Heads in 1956.
Marie and I have lovely lunch at Farm House, Kedron – vegetable tacos (moi); corn beef on toast – Marie.
1 Part of the Milton exhibit in ‘The Storytellers’ display in the Museum of Brisbane
2 The Woolsheds at Teneriffe. Photo by Peter Fischman
3 Rugby journalist, Jim Tucker (centre) and former internationals, Tim Horan (left) and Daniel Herbert
4 Howard ‘Spin’ Buchanan (left) receives the Olympic Torch in 1956.