DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 45 2020
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9
Charleville product, Kurt Capewell is all the rage in Queensland, after his outstanding effort for the Maroons in their Origin 1 victory in Adelaide, and it seems he comes from good stock. Brisbane Men of League Committee Patron, Ron Atkins, says the Capewells were all good fighters. Ron, a former rugby league player with Brisbane Wests, who grew up on the Tweed, did a bit of sparring in his time. I understand there is a movie being made about the inaugural Origin match in 1980, and it will be called (appropriately) ‘The Underdogs’. I wonder who will play the respective captains, Arthur Beetson (Queensland) and Tom Raudonikis (New South Wales).
My former Murwillumbah Brothers’ under-18 captain, Marty Sherry turns 70. Marty was skipper, when we won the 1968 Tweed/Gold Coast premiership, beating hot favourites, Old Boys 10-4 in the grand final, at Knox Park, Murwillumbah. Marty was also a fine soccer player. His younger brothers, Kel and Dennis also were top footballers, with Kel playing for Eastern Suburbs Roosters and South Sydney. Our coach in 1968 was former Rooster, Brian Tracey.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10
Light and Shade Media’s recording studio at Ashgrove is my destination this morning. The QRL have recruited me to provide a voice-over for a logo rebranding project.
Queensland Magistrate, Zac Sarra, a fine rugby league player in his day, says John Lang, was the best football coach he ever dealt with, both in football terms and regards to life lessons. Zac has been a magistrate for 21 years, and is worried about the effects of Ice, in the community.
Former tearaway Australian pace bowler, Jeff Thomson rates West Indies star, the late Malcolm Marshall, the best pace bowler of the past 50 years. Thommo rated Pakistan’s Wasim Akram number two and Australia’s Dennis Lillee, three. High praise indeed. Former Australian skipper, Greg Chappell believes no-one has been quicker or more lethal than Thommo.
As I walk along Kedron Brook, there is a lass, cracking a whip, who is being filmed by a chap. The mind boggles.
The ABC have terminated the contract of Landline’s Kerry Lonergan, after 35 years. On Twitter, Lonergen says he had no chance to farewell his workmates, such was the brutal nature of his axing. He said he tried to portray so much that was positive about farmers and graziers, at all levels. That might have been his undoing.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11
Former Australian rugby league representative, John Cleary phones to say his mate, Ray Swan from Petrie has passed away. Ray played rugby union for Queensland, just as John did, before John switched codes. Swan played for Queensland against the All Blacks, under lights, at the Exhibition Ground, in 1957. The tourists won 30-0. John said Ray later switched to league as well.
Watch the Remembrance Day service from Canberra.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12
Learn of the passing of former Valleys’ hooker, Paul Richards, a member of the Diehards’ wonderful 1979 premiership winning side. His props in the 26-0 grand final win over Souths, were Tom Duggan and Al McInnes. Ian Sommer, one of the second rowers in that Valleys’ side, died back in February.
Turtles’ guitarist, Jim Tucker dies aged 74. I love their song, ‘Eleanor’, and I even requested it once on 2MW, for Eleanor Riddell.
The great Neil Young turns 75. I gave ‘Heart of Gold’ a pounding on the juke box at the Murwillumbah Hotel.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13
Former Broncos’ winger, Willie Carne has returned from Noosa to Brisbane, to live (at Auchenflower) and works at an IT place at Newstead. His two boys play Aussie rules.
QRL official, Paul Stephenson reminds me how upset Manly media man, Peter ‘Zorba’ Peters became, when he found out Paul, a handy player for the Sea Eagles, had granted me an interview (ahead of a Broncos’ clash), without going through him. Zorba would never have done that in his journalistic career!
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14
John Lang delivers the Ross Livermore Memorial Lecture at QRL Headquarters at Milton, and his speech proves a hit with the invited audience (Covid dictated it could not be thrown open to the public). His address, largely about footy in the 1970s, is filmed by the QRL. Scott Watson, the son of former Australian centre, Alex Watson, has bought a beautiful Carcassonne rugby league jersey, in memory of his dad, who loved the French city.
The Beaudesert Rugby League song, ‘Playin’ for the Kingies’, written by the club’s former Qld rep., Keith Gee, is officially released, at R. S. Willis Park. Country and Western star, Josh Arnold recorded it, with Keith and his sons, at Recordworks, Coorparoo. The song is available on Spotify (whatever that is).
William McInnes’s column in ‘The Courier-Mail’ has been substantially reduced in size, with Mel Buttle getting the majority of space on the page. Today, Williams reflects on State of Origin rugby league.
Marie and I have dinner at Montrachet, Bowen Hills, to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary, which falls tomorrow. I have Port Stephens’ oysters; onion soup; and duck; while Marie tucks into scallops, bouillabaisse and creme brulee. Our waiter (from Grenoble) praises us for the choice of Rose – Bandol Domaine Tempier.
One of our neighbours, Sandi McDonald, who lived in Canada for many years, has died aged 78. Sandi had a great zest for life, despite enduring a number of health battles. She was editor of the Hermitage Gardens Newsletter.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15
Beenleigh High, where our eldest son, Damien taught for a number of years, features in a ‘Schools of Excellence’ lift-out in ‘The Sunday-Mail’.
One ale (from Aether Brewery, Northgate) at local bar, Quincy’s. I think it might be off. A previous drinker had left his half full.