|Issue No 79||24 November 2000|
Legends in Their Own Byline
Peter Moss asked five senior sportswriters about their own sporting lives. Needless to say, the highlights are huuuuge.
Malcom Conn, Chief Cricket Writer, The Australian.
Won a Walkely for his coverage of the Waugh/Warne bookmakers scandal.
Sports life: I was a modest bush cricketer and bush footballer in South Gippsland until aged 21 I moved to Melbourne to write for The Age. In cricket I bowled outswingers into the wind and batted in the top three. I played mainly at ruckman in footy with stints at centre halfback. I managed to play semi-regular cricket up until four years ago with the Glenalvie and Inverloch Clubs.
Sports high: I was chosen in 1979 as an opening bowler to play for Victorian Country Schoolboys.
Sports low: Getting out for a pair of ducks as an opener playing Interleague for my Association. It was a wet wicket at Sale and hadn't been rolled.
Sports dream: To play for Australia in the 1974/75 series against the Windies. My father took me to the Boxing Day Test and your hair stood on end as Thommo and Lillee destroyed them with the crowd chanting.
Roy Masters. Senior SMH sports writer, Channel 7 and 2GB commentator.
Sports life: I played hooker in both league and union at school and as a young teacher. League in those days was unlimited tackle and the scrums were a real aggressive contest for the ball, so the hooker was a key player. Then I started coaching while teaching in Lismore. I stopped playing around that time, but I went on to coach the Australian Schoolboys on their undefeated tour on England in 1972. From there I coached two first grade league teams; Wests from 1978-81 and Saints from 1982-87.
Sports high: In 1985 I was club coach at St George and we had all three grades in the grand final. We won the lower grades and lost the firsts 6-7 to Canterbury.
Sports low: Saints losing by a point in the preliminary final to Parramatta in the eighties. We were cheated by the referee Kevin Roberts. He gave three penalties to the Eels in a row in the last few minutes, getting them to the other end of the field where they scored.
Sports dream: My dream is to have senior NSW Labor politicians with the guts to return my telephone calls when they know I'm going to ask them for a comment on NRL rationalisation and the exclusion of South Sydney. They're too rude and arrogant even to say no comment.
Patrick Smith, Senior Sports Commentator, The Australian.
Sports life: I grew up in Glen Iris and played full forward in school footy, but I was better at cricket. I was chosen for the under age Victorian Second XI and played district cricket for Prahran in the 1970s as a fast bowler.
Sports high: Being a very competitive bowler at district level for ten years.
Sports low: In 1976 I was suspended for two weeks after a clash with a batsman. It was very early in the innings. I followed through and chested him to the ground.
Sports dream: I'd like to relive that moment that I was suspended for and not make the same mistake.
Paul Kent, Sports Columnist, Sunday Telegraph.
Sports life: I played lower grade rugby league as a fullback at Parramatta and Norths from 1989-91. Then I played park football up until 1996. In 1998 I had one amateur boxing fight at South Sydney Juniors. I'd always wanted to try boxing. I trained for six months, sparring every day for four months with people like Justin Rousell who was ranked IBF Number 3 at the time. Two weeks before my fight, Justin tore my septum, which is the cartilage between your nostrils. That made me question what I was doing, but I figured the adrenalin would get me through on the night and I was right. I fought as a light middleweight and knocked the other bloke out in the first round. He was a novice too and we both retired after the one fight.
Sports high: I'd have to say knocking that guy out in the first round with an overhand right to the chin. It was a pure moment.
Sports low: Actually this happened because of my work on the paper. When Mark Geyer was sacked from Balmain for lack of discipline in 1994, I wrote a story saying he'd had too many free rides and should go and play park football and earn his money. What I didn't reckon on was that he'd end up playing in the same park footy comp as me. When it happened, I was playing for Ourimbah and he turned out for Umina. He knew exactly who I was and remembered the story. I dived on a loose ball that he was chasing. He got stuck into me a bit. I was knocked out, concussed and was pretty crook for 24 hours.
Sports dream: To win the heavyweight boxing title by knocking out Joe Louis.
Mike Gibson, Senior Columnist, Sunday Telegraph
Sports life: I am a spectacular failure as a sportsman. I played lots of footy and tennis at North Sydney Boys High but aged 17 or 18 I got a job as a journalist. From then I was busy watching people who were so much better than I could ever be. I did play some lower grades in union in my early 20s. I was the world's slowest five-eighth, but I had a reasonable pair of hands. I also had a few union games in London for the London Irish. I'd been covering the Kangaroos 1963/64 tour and I was good mates with Ken Irvine. After the tour he gave me his boots, pads and gear. They fitted, but unfortunately his talent didn't rub off on them.
Sports high: Scoring two tries for North Sydney Boys High against our traditional foes Manly. I threw the dummy twice and the same bloke fell for it both times.
Sports low: I was continually breaking bones - legs, arms, ankles. At one time I played league in the Journalists Cup on Sunday mornings in Sydney. Some people took it pretty seriously and there was a bit of betting. You'd get ring-ins like grade players and boxers. I remember lining up one morning with a fierce hangover against Warren Ryan, who was playing first grade for Cronulla at the time. Another time I stiffarmed a bloke and he gave me a belting for it. I found out later he was a sparring partner at Snowy Robbins gym in Newtown. There were about three of them in that game. Anyway, Frank Packer, Kerry's dad, told me to give it up because I was getting hurt too often. I was playing for the Tele which was his paper.
Sports dream: I can't hold my hands up, but my dream would be to win the middleweight boxing championship of the world in the era of Duran, Sugar Ray and Hitman Hearns.
Peter Moss is a Director of Lodestar Communications
Interview: Back on Track
After blowing the whistle on rail privatization, NSW Transport Minister Carl Scully is rebuilding bridges with the trade union movement.
Unions: The Problem with Organising
It may be the new mantra, but Brisbane Institute director Peter Botsman argues that organising may be the wrong to go for a movement attempting to attract a new breed of workers.
International: Burma: Workers Act on ILO Ruling
Energy workers' trade unions across the Asia-Pacific have urged Western oil and gas companies to "cease investment in Burma while the use of forced labour continues".
Economics: Rethinking Incomes Policy
While many have thrown incomes policy out with the Acoord bathwater, Graham White argues it still has a role to play.
History: What Goes Around Comes Around
Labor Council's Mark Lennon argues that while trade unions - and labour history - might be unfashionable, there's life left in both of them.
Education: Peas in a Pod
Both sides of politics must take blame for funding levels in our public schools, argues NSW Teachers Federation president Sue Simpson.
Satire: Hurley Rebukes Actors' Guild: I'm No Actor!
Liz Hurley has responded angrily to claims by actors that she crossed a picket line by filming an Estee Lauder ad.
Review: It's Only a Job
In a stunning new book, author Phil Thornton and photographer Paul Jones have combined to portray working life in all its diversity through the eyes of ordinary people like process worker Sharonak Shannon
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