Nick Geiger's story involves being a tough hooker, playing for Norths Devils, Queensland and Australia, winning a World Cup and then riding off into the sunset content and happy.
Nick Geiger Q&A
How did you come to be at the Devils?
"I was a Devils kid and apart from one year at Brothers I played all my football for Norths Devils. I went to Brothers for one year at 16 because my Catholic school suggested it would be a good idea for me to move to Brothers. I played A grade for Norths at 18. I remember I played in the two lower grades and was getting changed and someone got injured so they said 'you’re in, get changed and get out there'. That was 1971 and we played finals that year with the great Devil Ian Massie as coach, and got beaten by Easts."
In 1973 Norths make the finals but get beaten by Redcliffe 25-9, 1974 beaten by Valleys 16-15. Those are hard lessons.
"1973 we signed Steve Calder and Tony Trent and they made a massive difference to our side. Easts beat us in the Woolies pre-season competition. Dolphins led in that final and we never really challenged. We still had some lessons to learn. Then in 1974, Valleys were just a juggernaut club. They’d won three of the last four and we were going to have to be pretty good to knock them off. We finished top of the table under Bob Hagan and we had Tommy Bishop at half, Baxie was floating around too. It was Ross Strudwick’s kicking that finished us. We led 8-4 at half time and lost by a point 16-15, then lost to Brothers and that was it, straight out the back door."
In 1975 you finish second to Wests, have a win against the Redcliffe in the qualifying final 15-2 and then lose to Wests 21-11, then Dolphins again and lose. Was 1975 your best chance of a grand final?
"1975 we had John Sattler at Norths, so that’s a handy addition to your side. We finished second and things are looking good. We beat Redcliffe in the qualifying final in terrible rain. Tommy Bishop was just tremendous that day and then Sattler and Mick Walker were so strong. Then we lost to Wests - who would be premiers in a week - and then we were so tired from Wests, we couldn’t face Dolphins again and lost."
Three games for Queensland in 1977 against the Blues and Great Britain. You win the scrums over George Peponis in pouring rain and Queensland lose 19-3 on your debut.
"It was terrible weather again. I actually sat on the line for Queensland in 1975. I didn’t get on the field, but 1977 was my first run on game."
Then four Tests for Australia in the World Cup in 1977. How did you find out you’d been picked for Australia?
"They rang home and mum answered and said she’d pass it on. She thought she better let me know, so rang me at my sister’s house because I was having dinner with her family and said 'you’re going to play for Australia'. Thanks mum, be home soon."
You go to Sydney in 1979 and play for Penrith.
"Yeah, I wasn’t super keen, probably even reluctant to be honest, but I went and had lots of injuries and then retired and came home at the end of 1979."
Where are your Queensland jumpers?
"I have given them all away to my children and grandchildren."
I am a 77-kilogram teacher. Talk me through how I could have survived a scrum in the 1970s - take me inside the dark arts.
"Your weight wouldn't be a problem. At my biggest I was about 83 kilograms. If you got the loose head, you want to take your other hooker down to the ground so he can’t strike for it. Just collapse on him. If you have the tight head, you want to make it so he can’t see the ball, so you need to move your body so he can’t see the ball until the last minute. I also had John Sattler explain to me about a 'double header' - that’s where you and Sattler both jam your head as hard as you can against the other hooker."
Who is your favourite Devil?
"Tony Trent, he was a great lock forward and just kept going no matter what. He could produce anything and was strong. He came from Asquith to the Devils and he spent his day throwing bricks around so he was that strong from working which is different to gym strong."
Favourite player to watch now?
"Kurt Capewell. He’s just a footballer similar to Trent. Just pops up, solves problems and seems to have answers. Great player."
Main image: Nick Geiger (right) looks to defend while playing for Queensland.