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Interviews Rugby League


Posted by... quigs eraofthebiff - on ... Saturday, June 02, 2012


"Tortured Soul"





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From the Halifax Section of
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What do you actually do at the North Sydney Bears?
My role is as General Manager, and Gary Freeman is head coach.

Can you explain what a ‘Leagues’ club is?
The leagues club was initially formed to support the football club, via income from poker machines. It is a community club providing support to over 20 ‘intra clubs’, including squash, soccer, baseball, etc.

Do you do any coaching at any level?
I coached the Italians u15’s side this year, and we are due to play in a world youth tournament in Russia next October.

Is there anything that you can tell us about Ben Black and Ben Fisher that they would rather we didn’t know?
They are both champions.

Was playing in the Green and Gold the pinnacle of your career?
Without a doubt. To play alongside of Mal Meninga, Laurie Daley and company was a true honour.

What made you sign for Halifax when leaving Wigan?
I had spoken to Gary Mercer a couple of times, and I had fond memories of Thrum Hall from the ’94 tour.

How emotional was it for you to hang up your boots?
Very emotional. To dedicate yourself to one pursuit for all of your life, and then to realise that it’s over is very difficult.

Was it a difficult decision to make?
My body made the decision for me!

Can you tell us who you would have in your ‘Legends’ team from 1 to 13?
1) Darren Lockyer
2) Jason Robinson
3) Mal Meninga
4) Laurie Daley
5) Les Kiss
6) Wally Lewis
7) Andrew Johns
8] Shane Webcke
9) Steve Walters
10) Arthur Beetson
11) Gorden Tallis
12) Gary Larson
13) Peter Jackson

Can you give us a run down of your Rugby League career, (who you played for, etc., international appearances, State of Origin)?
Origin – 4 games between 1988 and 1995
Tests – 4 games between 1994 and 1995
North Sydney – 285 games between 1986 and 1998
Wigan – 1999
Halifax – 2000

Who do/did you admire in the game, and why?
I admire all players for the courage and commitment.

Can you explain the different RL competitions in Australia, other than the NRL?
Most clubs have 5 sides – NRL, Premier League (reserve grade), Jersey Flegg (u20’s), S.G. Ball (u18’s), Harold Matthews (u16’s). Then there is also a second tier opens competition called the Jim Beam Cup.

What were your favourite watering holes in Halifax?
I didn’t spend much time in Halifax socially, but my favourite pub in Eccleston (Lancashire) was the Brown Cow.

What, if anything do you miss about living in the UK?
I definitely miss the friendly people, the fantastic shopping and my kids miss the hot lunches at school.

Can you actually see GB getting a series win against the Aussies in the near future?
Definitely. The GB side went so close in the Tri-Nations that it is important they stay positive and keep building on the foundations they have made.

Were you a fan of the Tri-Nations tournament before it began, and did the tournament alter your original opinion after the way it went?
I think that the tournament is vital for International RL and should continue to be played every two seasons.

Is your nation ready for a flogging at cricket by England next summer?
Bring it on!!

Do you fancy a run out as A. N. Other at some point during the season?
I reckon I’d be good for two hit-ups and a tackle.

It was said in the trade press that you were considering legal action against Halifax Blue Sox over money owing. What’s the story behind that, and can you tell us how it worked out?
I ended up missing out on a few match payments, which I half-heartedly pursued. There are no hard feelings.

You gave Ben Fisher a glowing reference, saying that he can regularly make forty tackles a game and is capable of scooting from acting half when the chance appears, but which modern day British hooker would you most compare him to?
Ben is small in stature, but big in heart – I’d probably compare him to Mark Smith.

To what extent are/were you involved with the Italian RL adventure? (NB: the questioner believes that you played for Italy against the Greeks in Sydney)
I played last season in a one-off v Greece, which we won on the bell. I am currently coaching the Italian u15’s.

Who got your boots after you left them on the centre spot?
Not sure.

How does someone’s hero affect your life? Does it mean that you have to act differently in different scenarios?

What was the highlight of your playing career, and also the low?
Highlights were playing in several finals series for North Sydney and also winning an ashes series with Australia. Low point was never playing in a Grand Final.

What made you sign for Halifax?
My very first club in Australia was the Macquarie Field Hawks, and their colours were blue and white! So I started as a four-year-old and ended as a thirty-one year-old in the same colours.

According to the Bears website, it would seem that your ‘enthusiastic’ coaching of your kids from the touchline has resulted in a ban or two. Is this true?
Not true.

Do you have great expectations of your children to follow in your footsteps?
I encourage my kids to participate in life, be it Rugby League or ballroom dancing. It’s their choice.

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve been given?
Don’t sneeze when you’re hiding.

It has been said in the past that Australian players only ever came to play in Britain in the twilight of their careers, and for a nice retirement package. Do you believe this to be true, and what was the motivation for you to come to Britain?
My motivation was that I couldn’t bring myself to play for another NRL club side other than Norths, and I had great memories from the ’94 tour.

How did you feel on your last game at the Shay, (you looked just a little emotional)?
Very emotional.

Were you surprised at the send-off given by the Fax Faithful?
Very sad.

Do you watch any of the British games on TV? (Are they televised?)
I love to watch the British game on Foxtel.

If you could change any of the rules for RL, which would you change?
I think that every tackle needs to be a contest for the ball, so I would do away with the two-on-one strip rule. This would encourage players to be more conscious of ball security and slow the game down a fraction.

Which three players from any team in the world would you sign for the Bears, and why?
Andrew Johns, Darren Lockyer, and Jason Robinson – because they’re the best.

What is your take on the lack of promotion and relegation to the NRL?
I would like to see a similar concept in the NRL, and I think we’re moving towards that with a strengthening of the domestic competition, (Jim Beam Cup).

Do you follow the results of Halifax at all?
I constantly follow the results of Halifax, and would dearly love to see them back in the top comp. Are they looking for a coach?

You’ve played at many venues throughout both hemispheres, but where is your favourite ground?
North Sydney Oval. It’s beautiful!

Final question: What are doing for Christmas?
We’ll be feasting in fine seafood, and spending most of the time in the pool.

Tortured Soul
22nd December, 2004
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