Welcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.
The Rogue had a great trip on the weekend to the beautiful north coast city of Port Macquarie. The weather was perfect for football and probably the biggest crowd for quite some time turned out for the tournament dominated by a very good Newcastle Hunter side. The Illawarriors got off to a shaky start in Saturdays semi against Central North but clicked in the second half for a resounding 55 – 17 win and a spot in the final. Right from the kick off in the final the Newcastle side powered up and managed to maintain their intensity throughout the final never allowing the Illawarriors into the match thoroughly deserving to take home the Caldwell Cup once again. To Shaun McCreedy and all his coaching and support staff, and all the players who represented our zone with great integrity, well done, you did the Illawarra proud. Word is that the tournament will be going way out west next year to the Western Plains Zone.
I shared the long drive north with several other old rugby tragics which resulted in some hilarious conversations with many very funny rugby anecdotes being related. I’ll share one with you which tells the story of a then recently retired Illawarra rep player who took on the role of Manager of the Illawarra Rep side way back in the early 70’s. The squad arrived in the host city and our enthusiastic new Squad leader set off shopping for supplies. In those days there were no traveling Physiotherapists and it fell to the Manager to supply the medical support and game day refreshments etc. The medical supplies amounted pretty much to the old magic Sponge and Water Buckets with Oranges providing the refreshment. At half time of the first match our opponents were astonished to see the Illawarra players were frothing at the mouth. Our novice Manager had purchased self-soaping sponges much to the disgust and bewilderment of his young charges. What happens on tour stays on tour so no name to this story but I’ll give a cryptic clue! Think of a long legged, feathered Nordic Warrior.