DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 27 2021
MONDAY, JULY 5
My former Brisbane Brothers’ rugby league teammate, Graham Quinn, who represented Australia in 1980, lost most of his prized jerseys, thanks to a break and enter at his home. ‘Quinny’ tells Queensland Times writer, Michael Nunn of this occurrence, during an interview for the on-line version of the publication. I’m sure, Quinny, a St George legend, would be horrified with stories emerging about the party held at Dragons’ prop, Paul Vaughan’s place, in breach of Covid rules.
The victim of a shark attack at Crescent head, Joe, is the son of prominent Sunshine Coast journalist, Bill Hoffman; a nephew of former Queensland hooker, Jay Hoffman and a cousin of former Melbourne Storm star, Ryan Hoffman. I worked with Bill Hoffman Snr at the Brisbane Telegraph newspaper.
It’s a great time to be an Aussie on the sporting front, with Lucas Herbert winning the Irish (golf) Open; Cam Davis a USA PGA event, and Ben O’Connor a stage of the Tour de France.
GEM television station features great Barry Newman film, ‘Fear is the Key’, from 1973.
TUESDAY, JULY 6
SkySports Rugby League commentator, Terry O’Connor refers to someone as being ‘bone idle’, during the coverage of the Leeds v Warrington Super League match. O’Connor, a former Great Britain prop, says it is a saying from Oldham. I certainly remember my parents, aunts and uncles using the term – not to describe me, of course.
Graham Poacher contacts me seeking details of the 1963 Foley Shield Final between Burdekin and Tully, for a ‘History of the Burdekin Rugby League’. Tully beat Burdekin 29-15, with winger, Peter Moore scoring four tries for the victors, in front of a crowd of 10,000 at the Townsville Sports Reserve. Both sides contained their share of genuine stars, with Tully captained by Test five eighth, Bobby Banks, with future Test forward, Angelo Crema at lock and Queensland rep., Danny Clifford in the front row. Burdekin’s side included future Australian centre, Gary Wellington.
It is 20 years since South Sydney’s win in the Federal court, in their bid to return to the top echelon of rugby league. I remember how happy my mother, Lola Mary Ricketts (nee Kelly), and wife, Marie were as the news came through.
Learn of the passing of Brisbane Wests’ stalwart, Warren Chambers, 79. His father, Stan “Digger’ Chambers was a Test referee.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 7
Queensland turf legend (as in horse racing), Bart Sinclair is strolling along his home stretch of the Brisbane River at Teneriffe, as Marie and I make a visit to the suburb. Bart has lived at Cutter’s Landing since 2015, having previously been a long-term resident of Clayfield. Marie and I have breakfast at Herveys, followed by the movie, ‘Dream Horse’. One of the cast members is BBC Sports’, Clare Balding, and, meets the real Clare Balding, a great fan of rugby league.
I watch the first half of the Union Test between the Wallabies and France, with the “Vichyballers’ scoring two good tries. But the Wallabies win, via a penalty goal in the 85th minute. How very rugby union.
THURSDAY, JULY 8
Noted Stafford Tavern punter, Wayne Mitchell, a former Brisbane Brothers’ rugby league player backs the winner of the Grafton Cup, Purrfect Deal. My fellow sports journo, Wayne Heming made the Grafton Cup an annual, cross-border pilgrimage.
FRIDAY, JULY 9
FoxSports’ commentator, Mark ‘Spud’ Carroll calls Queensland forward, Jai Arrow a goose, after he brought a woman back to the team camp, in breach of Covid protocols. No argument from me. South Sydney five eighth, Cody Walker so good in Rabbitohs’ 46-18 thrashing of North Queensland in Townsville.
Israel Folau signs a two year deal to play union in Japan, after a brief stint back in rugby league with Southport Tigers.
SATURDAY, JULY 10
There is a queue for pies at Fernvale Bakery, but it does not deter Marie and I from buying lunch there. Drive a rough back road to Crows Nest and then to the nearby National Park, where there are lots of other walkers, and the cascades are beautiful. Buy rhubarb and avocadoes from a stall near the Army Signals base at Carbalah. Listen to Roy and HG on radio, as they give their spin on sport on ‘Bludging on the Blind’. They’ve still got it.
China says giant Pandas no longer endangered. SBS ad promises facts not opinions, on its news. That may be true, but the choice of news items still could show a certain bias.
SUNDAY, JULY 11
Marie stays up until 1 a.m. watching Ash Barty winning Wimbledon. Marburg trots have an Ash Barty Pace today. She comes from out that way.
I have a beer with veteran coach, Brian Smith and former Kiwi rugby league winger, Jason Donnelly, (who played three Tests against Australia in 1993, and toured Britain and France at the end of that season) in the can bar at Bishop Park, as home team, Norths play Souths Logan. Brian’s son, Rohan is coach of the Devils, who are competition favorites. Brian taught at Sydney’s James Cook High from 1976 to 1985. I was billeted by a student from James Cook, when I went to Sydney for the Captain Cook Bicentenary Celebrations (yes, celebrations) in 1970. My billet lived at Beverly Hills, and I wish I could remember his name, because he was a lovely bloke, and his family were wonderful hosts. Brian told me his family moved to Casino from Maclean in 1967 to run a corner store. I also catch up with our son, Damien’s good mate, Nigel Large and his father, Bob. Bart Sinclair watches the match from the corporate area – the Devil’s Lair. Norths win 46-4. Souths’ fullback, Creedence Toia looks sharp.
Is the Sunday Mail’s Body and Soul the world’s most boring newspaper magazine?