MONDAY, JULY 18
FoxSports’ Paul Kent says Polynesians regard State of Origin representation as a status symbol, not so much a battle for State supremacy, or a stepping stone to Australian representation. I am not entirely comfortable with Polynesians putting their hands up for their State outfits, but, at the same time, never intending to play for Australia. Broncos’ legend, Allan ‘Alfie’ Langer believes South Sydney recruit, Adam Reynolds can lead the club to a premiership.
I have just heard of the passing of former Hull FC forward, Mick Crane, who played one Test for Great Britain – against the 1982 Kangaroos. He should have played a lot more Tests, given his natural talent. But he was his own worst enemy. I remember Rugby League Week founding editor, Geoff Prenter returning from a trip to Hull, early in the ’82 Kangaroo tour, raving about Crane’s ball skills, and his ability to down copious amounts of beer. Crane was man of the match in Hull’s narrow loss to Australia, when his opposite was Ray Price. Crane played 359 games for Hull; 18 for cross town rivals, Kingston Rovers, and 51 for Leeds.
Our daughter, Melanie Mariotto and her husband, Greg are in Munich.
TUESDAY, JULY 19
Marie and I drive to Alstonville (via a Bangalow lunch stop). An old bloke tail gates me through Mitchelton, in Brisbane’s west, on the first stage of the trip. I do not understand the mentality of people who sit up your arse, when you are doing the speed limit, and you are in the left lane. The purpose of the trip to Alstonville is for a Donnelly family get-together, at Marie’s brother, Kevin’s house. Afterwards we check into Lennox Beach Resort. Our room is basic, to say the least. It was once part of the office. Beggars can’t be choosers, as we had left it late to make a booking.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 20
Lennox Head Newsagency is closed for good. It seems the owner took ill and couldn’t sell the business. Get my newspaper at Seagrass Green Grocers. There are major road and path works in the Main street. A lady at supermarket says the Army should come in to help with flood repairs and Covid matters. I’m sorry – but the Army is there for defence purposes, not repair work in the community. That is the responsibility of local Government etc. Lake Ainsworth is full to overflowing, a result of the flooding rains in March, which have left the water table saturated. Marie and I have lunch at William Street Restaurant – chicken burger (moi); vegie curry (Marie). My Seven Mile Pale Ale is lovely, but the burger is cold. Obviously it had been sitting for a while. Marie’s curry is fine.
To Club Lennox for drinks. Barman says I am too young to be drinking Reschs, which is unkindly referred to, by some, as an ‘old man’s beer’. The barman made my day. Another barman, with an American or Canadian accent, recommends Brookies Byron Slow Gin, for Marie. One of the patrons is wearing a 1908 Australian Rugby League tribute jersey. Lennox rugby union players come in for a drink after training. A few locals say Sydney owners of the local pub (just up the road) have ‘turned off’ the locals. I have never found the pub particularly enticing. It’s layout is a waste of a great site.
There are lots of dogs barking around our motel, and no-one does a thing to silence them. Watch Shaun Micallef on ABC. He (predictably) takes a shot at Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton (he wouldn’t have a job at the ABC, if he didn’t). But at least he also has the balls to have a go at China.
THURSDAY, JULY 21
Former Parramatta forward, Chris King is working as groundsman, as we leave our accommodation. He says younger brother, Andrew, a former Manly-Warringah; Gold Coast Chargers, South Sydney and London Broncos’ fullback, is living at Broadbeach, and his son, Ethan has been signed by the Roosters. Queensland Rugby League chair, Bruce Hatcher has ditched retirement plans and will stay for another three years, to fight the good fight, trying to get money for the grassroots.
Marie and I stop at Pottsville, on the Tweed Coast, for the first time in ages. Lass in organic shop says she will ‘grab me’ soon. Best offer I have had in a while. There are Australian rules posts on the local sporting field. A sign of the times. The new Kingscliff hospital is huge – a necessary facility, but boy, does it look ugly, in such a beautiful location, built on rich, volcanic soil.
FRIDAY, JULY 22
Spectators at the Hull FC v Castleford match in Hull applaud for 60 seconds in honour of former Hull favourite, Mick Crane. Another ex-Hull star, Richard Gay, delivers the match ball. Gay played two Tests for England, during the 1995 Centenary World Cup in the UK.
Radio’s Ray Hadley says parents are upset about the poor organisation of outdoor music festival, ‘Splendour in the Grass’, with their children having to sleep in cars overnight, in the fields at Yelgun, in the Byron Shire, where the event is held. Marie and I saw the event being set-up, as we drove home yesterday. Marie’s father, Kevin Donnelly was once asked where Yelgun was. He said it was near Crabbes Creek. That would have solved the riddle. The minimum temperature is four degrees at Home Hill, in the Queensland tropics, a temperature which defies global warming alarmism.
Fellow Samford Grove resident, Frank Fenech was in the Australian Army for 23 years, serving in Papua New Guinea at one stage. Originally from Malta, he arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia, with his family, when he was 13. I chat to Frank over a game of pool. Another ex-army chap (artillery), Keith Hall served at Lark Hill in Wiltshire, England, and was heavily involved with Legacy, after he finished his Army career.
Murwillumbah Brothers’ stalwart, Bill Carroll phones to say the club’s former Tweed representative prop, Ted Conlon, died last night, aged 87. His wife, Noreen, pre-deceased him. Their son, Ross played rugby league for Australia in 1984. I worked with Ted at The Daily News at Murwillumbah. I was a journo., and he was in the advertising department. A clever, funny man. My father, Jon was Brothers’ treasurer in 1961, when Ted and Terry Twohill were props in the premiership winning A grade side. Terry also worked at The Daily News, as a printer. Also Learn of the passing of Frankie Davidson, a legendary ‘dinky-di’ Australian actor/singer.
SATURDAY, JULY 23
Winger, Jeral Skelton impresses in Canterbury’s NSW Cup side. He was signed from Rugby Union by Head of Football at Canterbury, Phil ‘Gus’ Gould. Learn of the passing of former Great Britain rugby league centre, Phil Jackson, in Wagga. Jackson played 29 Tests for Britain and one for England between 1954 and 1959 before emigrating to Australia, where he had a huge impact on many footballers in the bush, as a captain/coach, and later as a coach, and then publican. It is the ‘Country Week’ round in the Queensland Cup, with a Redcliffe official telling me of his disappointment at the ‘lack of promotion’ ahead of the Dolphins’ match against Townsville Blackhawks in Ayr. He wonders why the chance wasn’t taken to play junior games before the first grade, or at half time. In Northern New South Wales, Casino Cougars forfeit to Murwillumbah Mustangs. So sad. Casino has always been such a rugby league stronghold.
Marie and I attend Playgroup Mothers’ social event at Hamilton Pub in Brisbane, with the husbands mainly talking cars, which leaves me out.
SUNDAY, JULY 24
I reckon coach, Justin Holbrook is ‘Gone’, after Titans’ 36-26 loss to Canterbury-Bankstown. The Cowboys win, 27-26, on the bell, against Wests Tigers in Townsville. Referees are always so precious with time in the last minute, but not the rest of the game. Look at all the wasted time packing scrums, that have no physicality. Players should be made run to the scrum and pack quickly. In this instance, in Townsville, referee, Chris Butler called time off, with one second remaining. I mean, really! It gave the Cowboys a final shot from the kick-off, and they took advantage. It’s quite complicated what unfolded, but, the bottom line is, the Tigers were robbed. London Broncos defeat Halifax 38-10 in their best performance to date, in the English Rugby League Championship season.
Jared Dobson, from Dover, successful finishes the Nottingham Iron Man event in England, despite an ankle problem. The event involved a two mile swim; 112 mile bike ride, and then a running Marathon. Jared is the son of our dear friend, Maggie Dobson, and her late husband, Paul.
There is a number plate ‘Lair’ on a car parked in Samford Grove. Hope the driver doesn’t live up to the tag. Our youngest son, Lliam and his two boys, Ethan and Connor make a visit to our Samford Grove residence.