Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

BEETSON SIMPLY BEST OF THE '70S; in a Special League Oftheir Own Segment, TONY DURKIN Recalls His Best Rugby League Memories of the '70S

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

BEETSON SIMPLY BEST OF THE '70S; in a Special League Oftheir Own Segment, TONY DURKIN Recalls His Best Rugby League Memories of the '70S

Article excerpt

WHEN the boss asked if I could enter into the spirit of this week's Retro Round and pen my top five memories from the past, my old heart skipped a beat.

But when he mentioned the '70s, the recall bank suddenly flooded.

So here we go - from the '70s, my five chosen memories of the greatest game of all.

RLW debut

MY career as a rugby league journalist kicked off when I was appointed the first Queensland editor of Rugby League Week in 1980, but I had a brief fling in the magazine almost a decade earlier. In 1972, as a 70kg winger/fullback for Inverell in the NSW Group 5 competition, I was coached by former Kiwi Test player Ron Ackland. He had played 18 Tests for the Kiwis and coached his country in six Tests, and at 40 was as hard as nails. RLW editor Geoff Prenter, who would employ me eight years later, asked me to write a piece on our captain-coach, who had taken the Swans through the competition rounds undefeated. Singing the praises of Ackland and the team, however, proved somewhat premature. We were beaten by Moree in both the major semi-final and the grand final.

Mickey Lane

SIX years later, as editor of the Daily Examiner in Grafton, we were on the doorstep of one of the biggest rugby league stories of the year - but our newspaper missed it. The mighty St George Dragons, coached by the legendary Harry Bath, played a trial against a local rep team, but for some elapsed reason I did not attend. I do however recall our sports editor raving about a Dragons winger named Mickey Lane, who had impressed with his speed. In the next few days Mickey became the name on the lips of many, and not solely because the Dragons had unearthed yet another unknown. Mickey Lane was in fact Mitch Brennan, a Brisbane Souths player who was trotted out under an assumed name. The Dragons were subsequently fined $500 for the subterfuge. Brennan joined St George that season and won the Amco Cup's 'golden try' award on his way to playing 99 NRL game for the Dragons, Rabbitohs and Raiders, as well as making four Origin appearances for Queensland. …

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