Casino?s winning night
EVERY now and then you are involved in something that you know is special.
In my time at Marist Brothers some of those things were: the 24-hour Cancer Council Relay for Life, in which 15 of us took turns running around Oakes Oval; carrying young Tait Jenkins up Mount Warning was also very special. On Sunday night I experienced another event that was right up with them ? the Brett Loy charity auction at the Casino Golf Club ? and was blown away by the whole night.
By all reports the preceding golf day was a huge success and every one had a ball. A few Ballina boys even made the trip over for the 6.30am tee off.
The auction that followed was amazing. As we said last week, the items up for auction, everything from Chris Munce's silks to Mark Waugh's cricket hat, a signed Wallaby jumper and Ben Kennedy's Origin jumper, attracted plenty of bids.
Highlight of the night was the bidding for Matt King's framed Origin jumper. After a bidding war between two very generous men, the jumper now resides at the Charcoal Inn, in Casino, where it will take pride of place.
The thing that really stood out to me on Sunday night was the tremendous community spirit that the people of Casino have: The way they rallied around Brett and Rebecca was a real tribute to them.
I spoke to Brett on Monday night and he said he couldn't believe what everyone did.
I managed to catch up with a few old adversaries on the night and to hear the way they spoke about Brett made it easy to realise why so many people were there.
Sam Walker and Casino legend Andrew Bartlett were the last two men standing after the reunion of the 1985 Casino premiership-winning side. Sam was so excited by the reunion, because for once he was the youngest, at only 19 when Casino won the 1985 Group One title.
In a tribute to his longevity in the game Sam still runs around for the Casino reserve grade side as captain-coach. He did say it would be his last season, but I'll believe that when I see it. I'll bet one thing, the Casino Meat Works would have been a pretty quiet spot on Monday morning.
I did try to catch up with Dene Petty on the night but they said he left early. I suppose that happens when you get to his age.
Kiss of death
DURING the past month I have really jinxed a few sides.
I wrapped South Grafton one week, then they proceeded to lose their next four games; I gave Mullumbimby a wrap, the next week they got beaten by 40 points; I said Cudgen were going great, they got beaten the next week by Seagulls; Murwillumbah, they were on fire, I said. Next week Mullum smashed them.
If there are any coaches out there who want me to put the kiss of death on their opponents, let me know.
Don't worry Hodgey, I won't mention Brothers.
EVERY week I seem to be giving the younger players around the region a wrap for the way they are playing.
This week I acknowledge some of the more, let's say experienced.
Youth brings with it enthusiasm, the enthusiasm to run all day, not exactly knowing where your going, but still, just running, whereas experience teaches you the shortest way to get to a spot on the field doing the least amount of running ... an art form I had down to a tee in my last few years.
Going through some of the sides destined for the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League finals series there are a few blokes who fall into the above category.
Ballina prop Tyler Iverson is one bloke who gets few headlines but does an invaluable job for his side.
Adam McKenzie, from Mullumbimby, is a very experienced bloke. While not that old and usually strapped up like a bad racehorse, he is the player who leads from the front, always there when the going gets tough.
Andrew Hamilton, from Cudgen, is a former team-mate of mine from the London Broncos and is a very clever footballer. While he doesn't mind mixing it up the middle, it is his ball skills on the edges of the ruck which are the real asset for Cudgen.
Two players I've watched a fair bit this season are Luke Scott and Kevin Walker, from Marist Brothers.
Luke is probably the most experienced player in the competition having had stints with the North Queensland Cowboys and the very strong Redcliffe side in Brisbane, from where he captained the Queensland Residents side for a few years. His rugged style of football is made for semi-finals and being a former Brothers captain, I really admire the way he runs the side, leading from the front every week.
The one player I feel happy for this year is Kevin Walker. While we were opponents for the best part of a decade, I always admired the way Kev would always stick his hand up and never shirk his work out on the field.
Come in spinner
I WAS talking last week to a card-playing, former Brotheres player who told me a story about one of Kyogle's great supporters, Ted Smith.
By all reports, Ted was a very handy cricketer, who captained the Wiangaree side in the strong local cricket competition up Kyogle way in the 60s.
Apparently, they had this bloke in the side who wanted to bowl but Ted didn't have a lot of confidence in his bowling ability and despite numerous pleas they all fell on deaf ears and this player was banished to wicketkeeper.
To cut a long story short, he eventually did get a bowl and ended up not being too bad ... his name was Johnny Gleeson.
Gleeson eventually played Test cricket for Australia and was regarded as one of the top spin bowlers of his era. All I can say Ted is, you must have had some handy bowlers up Wiangaree way 40-odd years back.