Tales shared at Wide Bay reunion

Excuse me sir, but have you paid for that?

In an era of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, many say the art of ‘storytelling’ has been lost.  The information is at our fingertips before someone gets a chance to tell you the story.

I can confirm that the dying art is not lost on the 1966 Wide Bay Rugby League team that recently met to celebrate 50 years since winning the Courier Mail State Championships.

The group gathered at the Spotted Dog Tavern in Bundaberg last weekend and while the event was very informal, it wasn’t long before the guests of honour held floor and were telling stories of past glory.

I was fortunate enough to sit with former Queensland and Australian player Col Weiss during lunch.  Now in to his 70s, the qualified blacksmith still looks fit enough to play today and he proudly boasts that he continues to work fulltime on the family-owned cane farm near Childers.

Col shared plenty on his experiences playing for Queensland and he distinctly remembers the time when the Queensland Rugby League introduced the ‘intensive training camps’ for players involved in the state program. 

This required players to spend an extended period of time in Brisbane for (as the name suggests) some intensive training in preparation for an interstate game or an upcoming tour.

Due to work commitments in Bundaberg, Col was unable to attend the training camps, but such was his ability it did not exclude him from selection (he went on to play 22 games for Queensland). 

He remembers arriving in Brisbane prior to the Queensland team touring New Zealand. 

All players on the tour that had been part of the intensive training camp arrived in Queensland Rugby League-issued suits.  This included slacks, shirt and tie and Queensland blazer.

Col and five of his mates were duly sent to the suit maker on Queen Street with the assurances from QRL hierarchy that the players would be measured up and suits could be made in time for the tour to depart. 

Several weeks later, back in Bundaberg and back at work Col received a letter in the mail from the Queensland Rugby League.  It was an invoice for the cost of the suit.

All good stories have a good ending. 

“It is almost 50 years since that tour; and I still haven’t paid for the suit,” Col boasts.