Posts Tagged ‘Rugby League’

I’m pulling on the boots again

For the school

Less intense, less serious

More fun

Than Saturday club games.

The team balances

Between “jokers” and “jocks”

Fun seekers and crash-tacklers

And in the end

The fun-lovers dominate.

Enjoying every moment

Far more compelling than

The satisfaction of outscoring

Opposition schools.


Here is the team ( I think the photographer asked us to snarl):

My attempt at identification – with help from Paul Darr & Colleen Deane:

Back Row (l to r):  Peter Nicholls; Malcolm Carter; (?) Talbot; Andrew New; Dieter Shrumph

Middle Row: Graham Collins; Kim Reison (? spelling); Max Cowan; Tim Armstrong; Paul Darr; Ross Hogan

Front Row: Kim Anderson; John (pubes) Ridgeway; Mr Ellem; Rob New; Col Gillespie

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OK, kids. If anyone asks
“Where’s Roger?”, ..

On alert!

Roger’s secret trip to South Africa.*

Freeing Mandela?

No, … scouting for Panthers.

Phone rings, race to answer,

Wanting our place

In his clandestine mission.

Not 24 hours later

Back page headline,

Revokes our role.

No secrets in Rugby League!


* There were 4 people on this trip – Roger, Leo Trevena, Bob Boland, and Pat Russell.

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Temptations pulling me away from football

Dirty play pushing me away.

Decision, in the balance

Despite receiving thuggery induced

Chipped teeth, headbutts, punches, kicks.

But, …

My biggest, strongest teammate

Uppercuts a kneeling, defenceless opponent.

– lifts victim into the air
– makes aggressor smile
– instantaneously makes my decision.

My final season.


Here is the only other footage I can find of my club football days. Sorry about the quality … not great to start with but when I load into You Tube quality drops again. In this film I can spot Paul Bardon, Paul Smith, Peter Cameron, Glen Davidson, Mick Harpley, & me – yes,at 2:11 I’m down … but stoically rise again to complete the game.

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Our team’s [Penrith Waratahs] dominance

Continues in under 16’s,

Despite a more casual approach

In increasingly serious game.

Footy is no longer the driver.

Footballers replaced as paragons by
.     Performers – often anathema to football culture

Energy, once reserved for footy, diluted by
.     Compelling new adventures for teenage boys:
.     Girls, Grog, Grass

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Club football* successful

The team strengthening.

Winning many games by many points.

Like everything else,

It’s changing. More serious.

I ask Peter** about his running style.
I run to break the shoulder of anyone trying to tackle me!
Thankfully, I’m not tackling Peter.


Kid’s game shifts – to adult sport.


* Football … well, Rugby League. Would have written Rugby League … but that is 2 words and I needed only 1.

** Peter – Peter Cameron, an exceptional athlete and long time friend. You might recall Peter from The Treehouse Gang with it’s headquarters behind Cameron’s bakery. If you haven’t or want a reminder see the following Short Memories:  #38 The Treehouse Gang and #157 The Treehouse Gang Revisited and #159. Fence alight, gang-member falls … . In #159 there is a class photo and you’ll find Peter sitting at the far right of the 2nd row from the front.

Peter Cameron, the Cameron family, and their bakery were pivotal influence for the entire period covered these Short Memories of mine – I think it would be the same for many in that area at that time.




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Phil* is a diminutive footballer

He is quick, elusive,

And, for a little bloke …


His role model, his favourite player

Kevin Yow Yeh

From his favourite team,

The Balmain Tigers

Phil wants to play like him, run like him

And even look like him.

So, he sunbakes – a LOT.


* Phil … that’s my youngest brother!

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Friday ritual

Football boot preparation

Clean, polish, shine.

Thick white cotton tape wrapped ankles & bridges.

Respectful of the game, teammates, opposition.

Shiny black boots laced with thick white cotton tape

Extra lengths wrapped around ankles & bridges.

Ready for fields dusty … or muddy.

A ritual loved.

Contrasting school shoes

Scuffed by kicking the can

And reluctance to polish.

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3rd Sunday in April, 45 years ago.

Official opening of Penrith Park.

The 1960’s mega-stars of RL

The great St George Dragons – 11 successive Premierships.

Playing in our own backyard.

Backyard is right …

Shifting sandy surface, brick block for a grandstand.

Early aerial image Penrith Park (later Stadium).

But it was still ours – Penrith’s.

We loved it then … and now!!


Here’s what the ground looked like in around August 1966 when improvement work was in full swing.

And here is how it look in about November 1966.

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The game was tense.

Solid crowd.


A commotion – the northern hill.

St John’s Ambulance men,

Running, balancing black bags,

From sideline to hill.

Whispers spread about the fate of the fan.

Sadness shaded the spine-tingling game.

Ex-Tiger Mara kicks a field-goal.


A point.

Tigers out of 1968 finals contention.


* It was heard that the fan who was attended by the St Johns boys was a Balmain Tigers fan, that he had had a heart attack.

Penrith vs Balmain at Penrith Park 11th August 1968.

Penrith 18 – Tries: Bob Mara, Mick Leary; Goals: Bob Landers (5); Field Goal: Bob Mara

Balmain 17 – Tries: John Spencer, Terry Parker, Len Killeen; Goals: Len Killeen (3); Field Goal: John McCarthy.







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There’s no fuss about him

No arrogance or drama,

He speaks with authority, directs with control.

There’s no ranting, raving, or berating.

Calm, supportive.

He’s likeable, encourages harmony, teamwork.

My first football coach.

Merv Keane, my favourite coach.

… Damn! Don’t know if that spelling is right!

But can spell – winner!

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