When the Greinke family moved to Caboolture a young Gary ended up a Dolphin.
Then in 1982, Greinke was a Magpie and grand finals in 1982 and 1984. When that was all done, Greinke coached the Panthers, Jets and Devils in a long Queensland coaching career.
Gary Greinke Q&A
You play for the Dolphins and come across Arthur Beetson in 1981 - how is that for a young forward?
"It’s not too bad for your career. We moved to Caboolture from the Brisbane Valley and I was at the Dolphins, and when it became obvious that Arthur was coming back to captain-coach the Dolphins, everyone in the world wanted to play for Redcliffe to be close to Arthur. In 1981, the Dolphins were so strong. I played in the reserve grade grand final and in that team that beat Souths 26-15, we had Greg Oliphant, Terry Webb, Wally Fullerton Smith and Peter Leis. I loved my time at the Dolphins, it was such a strong club and I got to play with Bunny Pearce and Peter Leis. One of my first reserve grade games in 1980 I am playing Norths and Stan Napa and John Payne are playing reserve grade. I am not sure why, but I wish they weren’t. They’ve bashed me - just taken turns using my head for whatever they wanted in every scrum."
What can you remember about your debut?
"Bob O’Reilly came to Dolphins training and he is doing scrum work with the A graders and then came over to the reserve grade team and we have to scrum against the A graders. A few of my mates have said 'pack in really hard against Arthur, just give it to him, go on'. Seemed like a good idea so I have gone bang in - Arthur has got his giant hand and lifted me up and said 'don’t do that young fella' and he wasn’t mucking around. I was genuinely fearful, I have come out of training and I am walking to my car and Arthur is beside my car, I am thinking about just leaving it and walking home. He tells me he has an injury and he will miss this week and I’ve got my debut."
Souths in 1982 and two grand finals in 1982 and 1984, but they didn’t go to plan, did they?
"No, 1982 was looking a lot better than 1984. Against Wynnum in 1982 it was lots of drama in the finals. We beat Valleys 10-6 and Valleys were seething with Alan Power sent off and then we had Bruce Astill sent off too. We lost our captain and the world went Wynnum wild with the Morris boys and first grand final ever and then they won. It was close with 10 to go, but then Wynnum ran away with it. 1984 was over just as quickly as it started, Wynnum just too good in every department. They beat us in the major semi and then again in the big one. Eight tries to one and we took until the 79th minute to score."
Norm Carr and Chris Phelan are two special forwards - what did they teach you?
"They were winners and Carr was one of my favourites growing up. But they both had unbelievable mental strength. It wasn’t a case of 'this is too hard' it was how hard can it get. They just pushed themselves and that’s why they had the career they had. Bennett knew he needed those type of players and that’s what we got from them. I got to play with my heroes."
You go into coaching and coach at West End in Ipswich then play for Swifts, coach Wests Panthers, Ipswich Jets, London Broncos and Norths Devils.
"Yeah, Wests was my first big time coaching job and it was such an enjoyable time. Back-to-back premierships, it was such a great team to coach. I got to work with Brad Thorn and Tony Currie, it was great. Then Jets and the 2002 grand final, didn’t get the result, but Ricky Bird and Reggie Cressbrook. I remember I tried to get Barry Berrigan to the Jets and he was keen but we didn’t have the budget then he ends up having a blinder in the grand final. Norths was great and working with all those Storm players. At the Devils, in walks a young Greg Inglis, that’s heaven for a coach. He was at Wavell from 16 and we were just waiting for him to turn 17 so he could play Cup. He scored two tries on debut against Wynnum Manly then had played Queensland under 17 and kicked three goals then comes back and scores four tries against Easts up against Renouf and Darren Smith. When he was playing Colts, he had nine tries in the first three games. I remember Bernie Pramberg would come to games and sit near me and asked if there is anyone he should watch. I just said we will talk in 40 minutes after it’s happened."