Through green eyes 2019

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greeneyed
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Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » January 3, 2019, 7:27 pm

I thought I'd kick off 2019 with a few "classic" articles from Through Green Eyes in the past... here's the first of them.

Through green eyes: 1989

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I was sitting in my lounge room in the depths of southern Canberra. It was a Friday night and I was watching the game. Which game I can’t remember. It was an ordinary Friday night but I always watched the game. It was cold, as you’d expect.

The previous week, my father had been visiting me and we had watched the Friday night game together. It was the days before Channel 10 went to the wall and left the rugby league rights as an orphan.

But before that, they were running a competition. It involved choosing the best try of the season and matching your choices to the choices of the Channel 10 commentators – Rex Mossop, Graeme Hughes and Peter Sterling. There were five to choose from. What you needed to do was to rank the tries, from first to fifth.

I drove my father crazy. I taped the tries under contention and I replayed them over and over on the VCR. I was going to enter this competition and I wanted to get it right. I asked my father what he thought, but he got sick of it quickly. I ended up choosing two entries. One with my favourite Raiders try running first, the other with the try I expected the commentators would choose. I duly posted them in. Honestly, I posted them in. These were the days before the internet and internet polls were even thought of.

That next week, I was sitting by myself watching the game. As half time finished, the commentators announced that they would be drawing the winner of the competition during the half time break. They announced the order of merit that the commentators had agreed upon. I had picked it!

I rang home. I wanted to tell my Dad that all the pain had been worth it, and that I had at least chosen the right order. He was out, but I was talking to my brother. I was happy just to have got it right.

Then while I’m on the phone, Peter Sterling says that of the 80,000 entries, there are only five correct entries. He rolls a barrel on the field and announces……. I am the winner! I am yelling down the phone and jumping up and down. I had won a car!

In those days I drove a Holden Sunbird. It was the definition of a “lemon”. The heating leaked water, jets of water. As you turned the corner, a jet of water sprayed either the driver's or passenger's feet. I got used to just pulling my feet back on the corners and filling up the radiator before every trip. Still it was metallic blue.

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But now I had won a Nissan Pulsar Q. It was red. It went very fast, faster because it was red. I thought it was the best thing that had ever happened to me.

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I decided that Peter Sterling was the best footballer ever. He drew out my name.

Everyone told me how lucky I was. Strangers rang me that night to wish me luck. Some even rang me and abused me for winning. I told them that it was not luck, but a matter of skill. I hadn’t watched years of football for nothing.

I had my Pulsar delivered two weeks before the Grand Final.

It was an exciting time, as my team, the Canberra Raiders were storming through the semifinals, after finishing in equal fifth. And so it was that I drove myself and my friends to the 1989 Grand Final in my new car. My parents were visiting, but there was nothing stopping me from heading up to Sydney for the match.

The game is well known. The course of it has gone down in the annals of rugby league history. At the end of the game, I had to keep telling my friends that we have just witnessed the best Grand Final ever, they could hardly comprehend it. Eventually we left the Sydney Football Stadium, and I could barely remember what the new car looked like, and we could hardly find it.

We drove home to Canberra, straight to the Mawson Leagues Club, where the Raiders would be returning. I was so glad I was a member, as there were thousands and thousands in the car park waiting for the team. You could not get in unless you were already a member. We got back well before the team, even though they flew. What a night. “We are the Champions” was blaring out in the club over and over. And then the team arrived. It was bedlam. After midnight we followed the team over to the Queanbeyan Leagues Club… it was the more of the same ecstasy. It was all the better because it was the first.

I got home at about 5.30am. My parents had decorated the whole apartment in green, blue, gold and white for me… I got the tape out and watched it with them as dawn broke. I could hardly believe how good 1989 could be.
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dubby
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by dubby » January 3, 2019, 7:44 pm

Great story Fergus. Loved reading it.

1989 was a great year. I'd share my own story from 89, but it pales in comparison to yours!

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by dubby » January 3, 2019, 7:45 pm

FTR, for the unwashed, the 89 Pulsar Q would be like winning a Golf GTI or Focus RS.

Seriously good car for the day!

And the Sunbird was dodgy as hell. Starfire motor, went hard but a 1.9 lt donk was limited. As Fergus alluded to, quality was an issue!

They gave way to the Holden Camira.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » January 3, 2019, 7:48 pm

I do occasionally see a red Pulsar Q on the streets of Canberra. Faded and old fashioned. I wonder if it was once mine.
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by dubby » January 4, 2019, 8:38 am

Before we're married My wife had an N13 Pulsar, base model. The thing was a dog, terrible car. Slow, unreliable and cost her a fortune in repairs

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Fuifui Bradbrad
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Through green eyes 2019

Post by Fuifui Bradbrad » January 4, 2019, 4:52 pm

I had an 89 Holden Astra once upon a time. Dad hated Holdens, but bought it because it was a rebadged Pulsar.
Old man has always been a Datsun fan. First road car was a Sunny. Raced a 120Y and a 200B back when I was 14 and doing Speedways. I’ve inherited a love for the make.

My 89 story. I was 4 going on 5, and would get hypo off Cherry Ripes. My mum would give me one, then set me loose at Pre School, which was organised by the Cobargo CWA. All I remember is being chased by these old ladies, trying to get me to sleep.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by dubby » January 4, 2019, 5:16 pm

I had a 200b. Top speed of 166km/h.
Handled like a bag of marbles. Not much to offer. Even had a vinyl roof.
Traded it on a VB Commodore.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by Fuifui Bradbrad » January 4, 2019, 5:22 pm

Yeah the family car was a 200B station wagon, before upgrading to a Magna. Dad got himself a 200B sedan. I just remember it being loose.
I loved the Sunny. Put as much work into it as an 17yr old unemployed student could haha


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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by dubby » January 4, 2019, 5:31 pm

In 1989 I was 14. I was a gangly kid, playing center for the Yanco Ag High School 14B side. I was the quickest player, and top try scorer. I even scored a few from the kick off.

Our B side was strong. Our backs were better then our A side, apart from a winger.

Our pack though had a few fat slugs, guys with a heart the size of a pea. Fortunately though we had some forwards with some real mongrel. They stepped up every game, played above their size, and terrorised the opposition. Think of a pack full of angry, bigger Alan Tongues and Jarrad Kennedys.

Aside from our own 14A team who went through the riverina knockouts undefeated, our nemesis was Leeton. Very tough games, but they always had too much class in certain positions. Our other nemesis was Darlington Point Coleambally. They had a bigger center, fast too. We didn't beat them in the 13s, but we beat them for the first time at Hillston KO. It was like grand final day.

We played several games that year, only topped by our 14A side, and Leeton. DPC was a week by week proposition.

My biggest thrill was playing DPC before a few hundred people at Junee KO, i think it was. It was the final game, and all Yanco kids came to watch, to support us. Hearing people cheer my name from the sidelines was something I'll never forget. Even the 15s were cheering us on.

It was a close game. It was cold, cloudy, and intense. I gave all I could, and the team gave more. It wasn't enough. We lost.

I played a few games for our A side when they needed. I tried hard, but really lacked confidence. The coach gave me a rap in front of the A team, which was quite embarrassing yet uplifting.

89 was also the year the Raiders dug deep and won many games straight just to make the 5.

Being a B side, yet being among the top sides in a Riverina area was something I'll always be proud of.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by zim » January 4, 2019, 8:49 pm

greeneyed wrote:
January 3, 2019, 7:48 pm
I do occasionally see a red Pulsar Q on the streets of Canberra. Faded and old fashioned. I wonder if it was once mine.
You're supposed to "accidentally" bust the front bumper and have it replaced with an off colour cheapy. I can still see my Mitsubishi Colt from 18 years ago getting around the shire (yes I am born and bred shire scum).

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Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » January 8, 2019, 8:17 pm

Here's another "classic" Through green eyes for the summer...

Through green eyes: 1994

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It was a year I was living in Paris and posted at the Australian Embassy. It was one of the best few years of my life, except for one thing. There is no rugby league played in Paris. And the Canberra Raiders were playing in - you guessed it - Canberra.

When I moved to France, the idea of pay television was in its infancy. The Internet was something I had hardly conceived of. The only way I could see my beloved Raiders was through the tireless efforts of family and friends: taping games and sending them in the mail to me. A phone call on Sunday morning would bring the results. A week later, the stories from the Australian newspapers and an eagerly awaited tape might come in the mail.

In 1993, I just happened to be back in Australia for one week of the semi finals, only to see the Raiders sadly bow out, crippled by the loss of Ricky Stuart in the final round of the season. But by 1994, something fantastic happened. I got satellite TV from the UK. Sky TV. Every week, we got the two matches of the round from Australia. The Raiders were having a great season and I could often see them just days after they played.

The week that I knew the Raiders had made the Grand Final, Sky TV announced that they would be showing the Grand Final live. The UK commentators everyone loved to hate – Eddie and Stevo – hosted the broadcast, along with Gary Jack, who was playing in the UK. That's Eddie Hemmings and Mike Stevenson for those not in the know!

I woke up at 3am that Sunday morning I was so excited. The broadcast started at around 5 am and I had the set warmed and everything ready to watch the game well before it started. I had visitors from Australia staying with me. Friends came to my apartment to watch. One Raiders fan visiting Paris invited himself – terrified he would miss the game otherwise - and I was rapt that he did. We got the champagne and orange juice out to watch the game and even though it was still dark, it was party mode, a Paris version of the traditional Grand Final barbeque. The sight of Sydney from the air in bright sunshine, while Paris was still in darkness made us all homesick.

The match was wonderful from a Raiders fan’s perspective. Everything went the Raiders’ way from the kickoff. The Martin Bella knock on from the first play. The incredible off loads from late replacement Paul Osborne in the first half. And then the fantastic Mal Meninga try to wrap up the game and his career in Australia. The cheering must have left the Parisians in nearby blocks wondering what was going on.

By the time the game was over, the sun was up. We made pancakes, opened more champagne - forget the orange juice - and watched the game all over again from the start. Then everyone went home or out. The Raiders fan from Australia gave me the shirt off his back, literally: the 1994 Grand Final t-shirt he had brought from Australia in which to watch the game. I sat back and watched the game once more. It was a fantastic day in Raiders’ history, but I hadn’t been able to be there. Something felt like it was missing. Until November 23.

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1994 was a Kangaroo tour year, and was Mal Meninga’s final tour, as Australian captain. The team was full of Raiders players. On November 23, the whole Australian team was in Paris for a game against the French President’s XIII. A reception was held for them at the Australian Embassy, and it was a formal affair. But afterwards, almost all of them moved on to the staff bar, Matilda’s. It was a surreal experience for a rugby league fan, just sitting around and chatting to the likes of Laurie Daley, Brett Mullins and Ricky Stuart.

I told Daley what we had done on Grand Final day, and he said, “We haven’t even seen the Grand Final on TV yet”. I told him I had the tape and promptly went and put it up on the big screen in the bar. A group of us then sat down with Daley and Mullins and watched the game over some beers and “analysed” it. It was a late night… and the Kangaroos struggled to beat the President’s XIII the next night in the suburbs of Paris. I’m sure they have no recollection of it, but it is something from 1994 I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
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