Mini’s maxi brainsnap a bizarre addition to tradition
Anthony Minichiello makes a break for the Roosters. Digital Image by Renee McKay Â© Action Photographics.
Congrats are in order for Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello – his astonishing actions in Canberra last weekend snared him a berth in my ‘Bizarre Book of Rugby League’.
Does anyone know what was going through Mini’s head so late in a game his team needed to win to stay in the hunt for the finals?
What was (almost) going through Raider fullback Josh Dugan’s head was Mini’s errant forearm.
Crazy, inexplicable stuff from the Roosters veteran who was in line to play his 250th NRL game this weekend. Keep the champers on ice lads, it could be quite a wait before those corks pop.
Minichiello has rarely been known for illegal or dangerous play but he had two shots at Dugan’s melon in the space of seconds and was subsequently sent off.
I thought the incident was bizarre and immediately included his name in my imaginary book, which could be a best seller, or end up rotting down in some rancid, flea-infested cellar.
Perhaps Roarers might like to read some of the other notable entries in my Bizarre Book? Here is a selection, in no particular order, and when I’m done you are cordially invited to submit some bizarre league moments of your own.
Picture this: it’s round one at Lang Park, 1988 and the Brisbane Broncos are stepping out for their big-time NSWRL debut against defending premiers Manly Warringah.
The crowd is excited, the fireworks are going off, the cameras pan around and . . . what was that? Really? Yes it was giant Sea Eagles prop Don McKinnon urinating on the pitch in front of a 40,000 gallery.
Donny sort of made up for it when he streamed over for a try a short time later, but the NSWRL took a dim view of his behaviour and fined him a not so wee $10,000.
Let’s go back to 1982 – Wests Magpies versus the Illawarra Steelers at Wollongong Showground. A brawl erupts and three Steelers (Lee Pomfret, Greg Cook and Scott Greenland) are left prone on the turf at the hand of powerful Wests second rower, Bob Cooper.
The judiciary boss at the time, Jim Comans, didn’t muck around after hearing evidence of the incident. Cooper was hit with a massive 15 month suspension.
Solomon Haumono is destined for All Time Great status as he gets two mentions in my Bizarre book.
The first came during a game he was playing for Canterbury at Belmore in 1997. Haumono was felled by a monster tackle and lay unconscious on the turf, awaiting treatment.
It came alright, in the shape of his mother who had raced down from the stands and onto the sodden pitch. Mrs H did her level best to revive her boy, as medicos swarmed around him with smelling salts.
Haumono, himself, hit headlines in both hemispheres when he deserted his Canterbury team-mates mid-season to follow his girlfriend Gabriel ‘The Pleasure Machine’ Richens back to the UK.
The newspapers and TV news went into a frenzy but in the end, it was all a shocking lie. Haumono put on the scam in an attempt to be released from his Canterbury contract and join St George Illawarra.
The scam had apparently been devised by Haumono’s mate, Anthony Mundine, a rather bizarre character in his own right. Big Solo got dropped and was fined by the Dogs. The Dragons literally dropped all interest.
Roar colleague Nathan Brown has a special place in the Bizarre book, too. Trying to get a point across to Trent Barrett on the sideline, the Dragons’ coach lashed out at his five-eighth and caught him flush on the cheek with a slap.
Brownie, seriously contrite for his incredible act of frustration, spent much of the following week in apology mode and copped a $5000 fine from League HQ.
OK, I’ll offer just two more if you are still interested.
It was the State of Origin series, 1982, and Blues fullback Phil Sigsworth was trapped in his own in-goal as the Maroons tried to force an advantage.
Siggy threw a desperate pass to debutant winger Phillip Duke, who didn’t expect the ball and fumbled it at the feet of Wally Lewis. The King pounced for the easiest of tries and Queensland claimed the first ever three game series. (P. Duke would subsequently be known as The Duke of Hazard.)
In the opening round of the 1970 season, North Sydney lined up against Canterbury Bankstown at Belmore.
Throughout a spiteful, niggly first half, referee Keith Page took an obvious dislike of the Bears and began caning them with his whistle.
Just before half-time, Bears’ captain Ken Irvine fielded a kick and was kneed in the back by a Canterbury forward a second or so after the winger had been grassed.
A 20-man brawl erupted with referee Page dismissing Norths’ lock John McDonnell. Irvine remonstrated repeatedly with the ref and when he refused to back off, he was sent off as well.
As Irvine made his way to the dressing room, several players began to follow and such an exodus, mid-match, was historic in the NSW rugby league, and bizarre in the extreme.
Norths’ secretary Harry Forbes persuaded the red and black militants to “go back and get on with the game”, which was ultimately won 16-14 by Canterbury.
Irvine was suspended one week for abusive language and a copped further two for misconduct.
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