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Title: ... p52 - John Donnelly- Memories of - by Gary Worrall, an ex Magpie living in Warrington

John was very often my inspiration, he would find his way into our team talks


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Gary Worrall

Western Suburbs



I currently reside in the United Kingdom, in the Rugby League town of Warrington.

I emmigrated to Sydney in 1978 where i played junior league in the Western suburbs comp, playing for the Royal Sheaf Hotel in Burwood.

At the end of my first year i played Presidents cup footy and was then graded by Wests later that year and played under the then under 23 coach Stan Shipley.

Wests under 23 team were struggling to find form having been the premiers the previous year, under i think was Warren Ryan another great coach.

Myself and Bruce Bruiser Clarke, Tony Armstrong, and Robert Gooch who were all local lads, having been called up managed to turn around a seven game losing streak into seven game winning run, which only really ended when our exceptional players like Terry leabeater, Geoff Spotswood and Peter Lima amongst others were called to reserve and then onto first grade leaving us a bit short in depth.

Sorry i am getting carried away with history and forgetting my good friend Dallas. John was very often my inspiration, he would find his way into our team talks and when Stan was not looking he would gesture to me, what he would like me to do to a certain member of the opposite side.

I always tried to achieve these objectives, legitimately of course as John would not have it any different ha ha. Jokes asisde, John was a wonderful man, very often misunderstood and of course miss represented as a thuggish type person.

I found this nothing near the truth, John was never too good to come and speak to people he did not know, and he would give them his time. He was a regular visitor to Begnell oval near Enfield wher he would support the junior rugby league. He was a fine man with many friends. He had a front row partner in Bruce Gibbs.

Teams feared this front row, none more than Manly, who brought about their own demise of that era by calling us Westies, the fibros, who out of pride and passion rarely lost to them with this team in tact.

I would just like to pay my debt of gratitude to John Donnelly, i would like to visit his grave sight, which i presume is in Gunnedah, his home town, in NSW, and pay my respects to him on my return to Oz hopefully in the near future.

Thanx again John, very often im my thoughts, yet truthfully, he did not know me that well but impacted my life.

Gary Worrall.

Western Suburbs through and through, the VICTA days.

Appears in the following pages ....P52_John DONNELLY
Date of posting ... 12-Oct-2004
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