Pat O’Doherty was never going to play for anyone else but the Ipswich Jets - the local boy was born in green and white.
O’Doherty would play for Ipswich in 1986 and then leave for the Wests Magpies and the bright lights of Sydney playing for the Magpies, Eels and Gold Coast Seagulls, but always come home to Ipswich and the league city he loves.
Pat O'Doherty Q&A
What do you remember about your debut in 1986?
Souths at Davies Park, they had a great team and I remember being very nervous and unsure of the whole thing, but Tommy reassured me I would be okay and you can’t not believe Tommy when he tells you something.
Were you always going to play for the Jets, did you get other offers before 1986?
Peter McWhirter approached me in 1984 to come to Valleys, but I was only young and Hugh advised me to stay local and not go to Brisbane.
In the 1988 grand final, the Jets are well in control. What went wrong after 10-0 to lose 17-14 to Valleys?
Well Ray Ovens getting decapitated didn’t help. I remember Tommy said in 1986 'we will make a grand final in three years or I am not doing my job' and we got there but just couldn’t finish it off. They were a good Valleys side too. We were mostly Ipswich lads and I think that’s something to be proud of. Glenn Haggath had glandular fever and came off the bench. I still think if he plays we win. He just would have added that tough layer. No way at 10-0 Glenn Haggath lets it slip.
Best Jet you played with from 1986 to 1988?
My three favourites are Pat Shepherdson, Bob Kellaway and Andrew Walters. I honestly believe that Drew Walters was the most skilful Walters. He had a great football brain and very smart player. I loved playing with him. Big Bob Kellaway, I loved him. He came to Ipswich and he was still living at West End so I would go to his house on a Saturday afternoon and his Souths’ mates would be there and I loved it. I learnt so much off him. I just followed him around like a puppy. If he had a meal, I had a meal if he went to the urinal I went to the urinal. I just wouldn’t leave him alone. Pat Shepherdson came from Brothers with Tommy and was just a Tommy player - tough and simple in his approach. He taught us how to be tough and that football doesn’t have to be complicated.
Your brother Hugh is a huge part of Brisbane Rugby League - how was it growing up with him as a brother?
I honestly feel sorry for everyone else who didn’t have Hugh as their brother. Doesn’t everyone get to play touch with their older brother who is the Valleys and Queensland hooker? Sleeping on the stage at Valleys was the most natural thing in the world to me while I waited for Hugh to finish and take me home after a game. People would always say 'hello Hugh' to me and then say 'sorry Pat', but I’d always say never apologise for calling me Hugh.
What’s one thing Tommy Raudonikis taught you in his time at the Jets?
He taught me who Dallas Donnelly was. He said to me in 1986 'you’re my Dallas Donnelly' and I thought 'who is Dallas Donnelly?'. I didn’t watch the Sydney comp at all. Tommy could ask you to do anything and you would. He used to always say there is a wall and who is prepared to go through it - get to the other side, you win. So many great Tommy stories, I remember we would go to his house and just sit and listen to him tell stories and he gave Alf one of his Australian jumpers one night and Alf said 'I can’t take this' and Tommy just said 'you can give me one of yours in two years'. Alf looked at him like you might be waiting a while but Alf was playing Origin 12 months later and Australia two years later. We played Wynnum in 1986 and Tommy said your job is to get Andrew Tessman, so I have got him and then Tommy says at half time 'we need you to upset Wally Lewis' and I have looked at him like are you mad. Tommy said if you don’t do it, I will take you off the field and take you around the back and fight you. I wasn’t too sure who I was more worried about upsetting, Tommy or Wally.