DIARY UPDATE: Week 34, 2021


WEEK 34 2021


One of the great characters of Queensland sports journalism was the late Kev Keliher, who was the Broncos’ first media officer, after a long stint with ‘The Sun’ newspaper, where he was a fearless rugby league columnist, and precise sub-editor. He and younger brother, Leo were managers of Brothers’ Third Grade in 1976, a year in which I played a mixture of Reserve and Third Grade, as well as playing two first grade matches – in the Amco Cup. Memories of Kev flood back as I chat to Barb Barkley, the former PA for Broncos’ inaugural chief executive, John Ribot. My chat was primarily about outgoing Queensland Rugby League G-M, Rob Moore, who worked at the Broncos for a time. I am helping to put together a ‘This is Your Life’ booklet to present to Rob. Barb said Kev would sometimes fall asleep at his type writer, cigarette in hand. Recruitment chief, Cyril Connell didn’t smoke. He loved a pie and Coke.

Riot at soccer match between Nice and Marseilles, with ‘fans’ throwing bottles on to the field. A Marseilles’ player throws one back. Not sure whether NSW players ever did that, at Lang Park. At a Roosters’ match against Manly, at the old Sydney Sports Ground in 1986, a fan threw a full can of beer at Roosters’ forward, Trevor Gillmeister as he headed to the sheds, after being sent off for a high shot on Des Hasler. The fan had his back turned, and was boasting to his mates about the direct hit, when ‘Gilly’ (who required six stitches in the wound) leapt onto the ‘hill’ area, and said: ‘Hoy’. The can thrower turned around and copped a straight right to the melon, from Gilly. Lights out and no more boasting to his mates.


The major award for the best player in the Queensland Cup is the Petero Civoniceva Medal, named after the former Australian prop, a Redcliffe junior, who finished his senior career with the Dolphins. The QRL recruit me to read a script, which will act as the intro to the Medal at the presentations this year. Rhys, the young fellow who records my effort, has rugby league in his background, with his father having played with the Parkes Spacemen. But his dad played most of his senior football in the union code, with the Moree Boars.

My bother, Jeff celebrates his birthday with an Imperial Stout from the UK (where else).


Wake to Carabao Cup soccer from UK on TV, including a match featuring traditional rugby league town, Barrow playing Aston Villa. Barrow play a physical style.


My wife, Marie and I explore the Toowoomba Botanic Gardens, and walk past the Athletic Oval, where I have covered a number of rugby league matches – Toowoomba v Great Britain in 1979, 1984 and ’88, as well as State League encounters and NRL trials. Marie shops at Hanna’s, a traditional department store, and then we lunch at Jillie’s – bruschetta and zucchini fritters are excellent. Urban renewal project well underway in Russell Street.


Suncorp Stadium boss, Alan Graham puts the NRL match from Mackay (Warriors v Raiders) on the television screens in the Members’ Bistro at the Stadium, ahead of the Roosters v Souths match. When my wife and I walked in, the screens were full of the stadium feed – boring stuff leading up to the Broncos’ game. Meanwhile, there was a NRL match being played in our fair state, and we couldn’t watch it!  The Warriors let in a try with five seconds to go, to destroy our eldest son, Damien’s multi-bet. The best way to describe the crowd for the Roosters v Rabbitohs game, is ‘rough’, certainly in our area. Lots of foul language, and people ignoring the mask mandates. Our daughter, who watched the match on television, commented on the ‘feral’ fans. Rabbitohs’ fullback, Latrell Mitchell breaks the cheekbone of Roosters’ centre, Joey Manu. An emotional Manu confronts Mitchell, his eye already closed and swollen from the injury. Roosters’ coach, Trent Robinson goes off at the media conference. Souths’ coach, Wayne Bennett is resigned to Mitchell getting a long spell on the sidelines. Corey Parker and Joel Gould ask the tough questions at the media conference. Souths won 54-12 with winger, Alex Johnston scoring three tries. Lock, Cameron Murray was outstanding for the victors.


An indigenous mate sends a ‘joke’ about Latrell Mitchell. “Finals are like the National Anthem. I won’t be taking part.” Referee’s boss, Graham Annesley says Latrell should have been sent off. Mitchell gets six weeks.

Former New South Wales’ prop, Bruce Olive, turns 91. Welsh hooker, Tommy Harris, who toured Australia with the 1958 Great Britain side, reckoned Olive was the best prop he encountered on the trip. Originally from Casino in northern New South Wales, the indigenous Olive played club football in Wollongong, and also for Newtown in Sydney.

Our daughter, Melanie Mariotto and husband, Greg, do a history tour of Raffles Hotel in Singapore, learning about famous guests, such as Ava Gardner, who stayed there during a visit for the premier of the movie, ‘The Barefoot Contessa’.


A caller to ‘Macca’ (Ian McNamara) on ABC Radio says he used to listen to the ABC all the time, but only listens to Macca now, because there is too much anti-Australian sentiment the rest of the time. It wasn’t me making the call, but it could have been. The caller uses the term ‘exploited to the billy-o’ when referring to cutting down of a native tree. Haven’t heard the term ‘billy-o’ for a long time. Macca reads ‘Wombat Flash’ poem, which prompts an email from a listener at Warialda in north western New South Wales recalling the Wombats rugby league side, which produced the likes of the Cleal brothers, Les and Noel; Ray Stehr and Stan Jurd. Richie Lawton, an ex rugby league player from Scone in NSW, plays the didgeridoo for Macca.

Former Great Britain skipper, Tom Bishop, is in the can bar at Bishop Park, Nundah for the Norths v Central Queensland match. It is Norths’ Old Boys’ day, and Tommy was captain-coach of Norths in the mid-1970s. Media personality, Bill McDonald (who is primarily an Aussie rules man) is MC for the Old Boys’ lunch. After the match, Norths’ president, Michael Crutcher brings the current side to the can bar to join in with the Old Boys in a rendition of the club song, which was brought to the Devils’ Lair by the ‘Immortal’ Clive Churchill, when he joined Norths from South Sydney in 1959. Campbell ‘Zulu’ Dews leads the singing. ‘Zulu’ and Bevan Baptiste were two teammates I caught up with from my playing days at Norths in 1979.

Channel 7’s Flashback recalls cycling as the way to beat traffic woes in the 1970s. The ‘Telegraph’ newspaper had me riding a bike in peak hour, back in the mid or late 1970s, as part of a feature on cycling in the city. I felt vulnerable on thoroughfares like Kingsford Smith Drive and Coronation Drive, as there was little respect for distance back then.

Toowoomba Botanic Gardens

Athletic Oval, Toowoomba

Urban renewal in Russell Street, Toowoomba

Steve Ricketts cycles Brisbane in the 70s

The Norths’ boys sing the song in the Bishop Park can bar, with Campbell ‘Zulu’ Dews leading the way

3 responses to “DIARY UPDATE: Week 34, 2021

  1. Parkes Spacemen, love that. Great name for a club. Nearly froze to death in our camper there in July 2020 at the 50 years celebration of man landing on the moon. Had watched the original telecast (replayed on the big screen at Parkes in 2020) on the lounge room floor of a Russian expat in Atherton Nth Qld in 1970. We never had a TV in our own home.
    A Russian community had established there post war including Alexander Prokhorov, born at Peeramon outside Malanda. I”ll let Wikipedia summarize it.
    “In June 1941, he joined the Red Army. During World War II, Prokhorov fought in the infantry, was wounded twice in battles, and was awarded three medals, including the Medal For Courage in 1946. In 1964, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics. In 1969, Prokhorov became a Hero of Socialist Labour, the highest degree of distinction in the Soviet Union for achievements in national economy and culture.”
    You couldn’t make this stuff up. One thing I remember, there was no room for flowers in a Russian garden, only eatable plants.

  2. That would have been dangerous riding a bike around Brisbane city back in the 1970’s without a helmet or the luxury of a bike path, Steve.



    Sent from my iPhone


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