Favorite Moments - 001-025 Your fun memories from EOTB

fm08 - A golden moment of Biff executed by an Aussie on a cold afternoon in Blackpool Mark Harrigan, Rochdale Hornets, formerly a Manly Warringah man

Posted by... quigs eraofthebiff - on ... Monday, May 14, 2012
Jim Stringer
Rochdale Hornets Man
Hornets .. is the club I follow

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Mark Harrigan remembered

Rugby League players have to go some to make an impact in one season - especially if they only play for a club for one season. In the last 20 yearsthere have been a few exceptional players to have pulled on the red, white and blue jersey and, during the 1986/87 season Mark Harrigan carved for himself a special niche in Rochdale Hornets folklore.

He was a nuggety little fullback, signed I think from Manly, and his 'moment' came in a game against Blackpool Borough at Borough Park. In a particularly nasty game, he'd been the victim of a brutal tackle that left his face cut and his eye almost closed. He was taken from the field for treatment and stitches. The ref chose not to see the incident.

As Mark walked off past us, he looked a real mess and we expected that to be the last we'd see of him in the game. Amazingly, with about quarter of an hour to go, he emerged from the tunnel, freshly stitched, bandaged and with his eye swollen, badly bruised and fully shut. He all but insisted on going back on the field. Five minutes into his return, the prop that had executed the head tackle on Mark broke the defence and found himself in open field with only Harrigan between him and the tryline. Harrigan stood his ground, almost daring the prop to step him. The prop dodged left and, instead of tackling him, Mark Harrigan produced quite the most exquisite straight arm tackle I've ever seen. The prop's head stayed put, his legs flew parallel to the ground and with a sickening grunt he hit the deck spark out.

Harrigan didn't even wait for the ref. He walked straight past the prostrate prop and, smiling, straight down the tunnel with the wild applause of the Hornets fans ringing in his ears. Whilst not condoning deliberate violence, it was the most perfectly executed and most deserved piece of on-field retribution I've ever seen.

And it was typical of Mark Harrigan's style. Whilst not the biggest of Rugby League players he showed courage above his physical stature and for that season stood a stubborn last line in a frequently punctured Hornets defence. And then he was gone.

One season of solid, hardworking graftsurmounted by a moment of extreme courage. Bigger players would have called it a day that afternoon at Borough Park, but Mark Harrigan had unfinished business and dragged himself back out there to balance the slate.

We know that he did it for himself - to show that, despite his size, you couldn't mess with him. But that he did it in a Hornets jersey makes him a bona fide Hornets folk hero, remembered always for what we still speak of, admiringly, as "THAT Mark Harrigan tackle". So, in a way, he did it for all of us too



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