Canterbury-Bankstown Rugby League Football Club

About this Item
SpeakersMoss Mr Kevin; Hazzard Mr Brad; Gibson Mr Paul; Windsor Mr Antony; Stewart Mr Tony; Jeffery Mr Bruce; Rogan Mr Patrick; O'Doherty Mr Stephen; Iemma Mr Morris
BusinessBusiness of the House


Mr MOSS (Canterbury) [10.00 a.m.]: I move:
      That this House:
      (1) congratulates the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in reaching the 1998 NRL grand final and calls on all members to support them in their endeavours to win the inaugural NRL trophy.
      (2) further, congratulates the Bulldogs' players, coaching and training staff and supporters on winning eight consecutive games to carry them to the grand final.

This motion has three main aims. First, it calls for unanimous support for the Bulldogs in the forthcoming grand final. Second, it congratulates the team on its outstanding performance in the lead-up to becoming grand finalists in 1998. Finally, the motion wishes the Canterbury-Bankstown team every success in taking out the National Rugby League premiership next Sunday.

In asking for unanimous support I am really calling on all members of this House to do what the majority of New South Welshman will do this week: that is, to put their weight behind the local team, the team from New South Wales. It behoves all members of the New South Wales Parliament - and I emphasise the New South Wales Parliament - to stick up for the local team. Now that Canterbury is up against Brisbane, there is really no choice as to whom we all should support, because it is now down to one local team, and that is the mighty Bulldogs. If any members in this House want to see the Broncos win on Sunday - and I am sure there are none on my side of the Chamber - I would go so far as to say that they should jump the border and try their luck in politics in Queensland.

I am calling for loyalty for a team that hails from New South Wales, and though the grand final is not what one would call a State of Origin match, one could call this a match between teams of origin. In congratulating Canterbury on its performance to date I would have to say that the last eight games have been remarkable achievements, when one remembers that the Bulldogs had to win all eight to make it to the grand final. Initially Canterbury had to win the last four competition games just to get into the semi-finals. Who will ever forget that final nailbiting game of the series when Craig Polla-Mounter put over a field goal in the last minute of play that resulted in Canterbury winning by one point?

Canterbury’s two most recent games will go down in history as two of rugby league’s most exciting and tenacious games ever played. After watching those games I will not be the least bit perturbed if Brisbane is ahead for much of the grand final. Canterbury now has a track record of coming from behind to win. In the semi-final against Newcastle, Canterbury was down 16-0 and went on to win in extra time. That result caused coach Steve Folkes to say that it was the most courageous victory he had been associated with in Canterbury for years.

Last week we witnessed a repeat performance for Canterbury to win convincingly in extra time. This time the win was even more phenomenal when one considers that in the last 11 minutes of ordinary time Canterbury went from two points to 18 points, to level with Parramatta. The end result is well documented, with Canterbury winning 32-20. I want to add my admiration to this gutsy team which, within 25 minutes, managed to kick four goals and two field goals and score no fewer than five tries. Following that superb win, former great Terry Lamb commented that this was the best season he has had with the Bulldogs - and he is not playing this year. But the quote of quotes has to come from club President, Barry Nelson, who noted after the game last Sunday, "Parramatta put the Bulldogs to bed, there is no doubt about that, but the problem was they forgot to kiss them goodnight." That sums up last Sunday’s result.

Canterbury has a capacity for fighting back when the chips are down and for defying the odds. If ever a team deserved to be in the grand final this year, it is the Bulldogs. Canterbury-Bankstown had been written off right through this finals series. But just as they did in 1995, they keep defying the odds.
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Who gives a toss what the so-called experts say about their premiership chances? The Bulldogs are on a roll, they keep on winning, and deservedly so. There is only one more game to win, and that is the big one next Sunday, and all Bulldogs’ supporters know they can pull this one off.

Finally, in moving this motion I want to commend the coaching efforts of Steve Folkes, who has undoubtedly played a major role in getting the team this far. The Bulldogs can win the 1998 rugby league premiership and in this regard Darren Britt and his team can be assured of this Parliament’s support. It would be remiss of me not to mention the Canterbury reserve grade in this debate because, after all, it is the reserve grade of the Bulldogs that will take this mighty club into the twenty-first century.

For the benefit of those who do not know, the reserve grade team is playing in the grand final on Sunday at the Sydney Football Stadium. It is interesting to note that since the Canterbury football club was first formed there has been only one occasion on which both the first grade side and the reserve grade side played in their respective grand finals at the same time. That occurred in 1980, and we all know what happened in 1980. Both the Canterbury reserves and the first grade team won. That was the club’s first premiership win in my lifetime. We hope to see a repeat performance of the dual premierships of both the first grade and the reserve grade sides on the weekend. I am confident that the reserves will be also successful.

In the last 19 years, including this year, the Canterbury club has managed to feature in no less than nine grand finals, and has won five. After Sunday’s performance that tally will be nine grand finals with six premiership wins. I am sure all members of this House are hoping for that result. I know that not every member of this House is a Bulldog fanatic. However, there are a number of us, such as the honourable member for Bankstown, the honourable member for Lakemba, the honourable member for East Hills, the honourable member for Hurstville, the honourable member for Londonderry, and, although he does not represent the Canterbury-Bankstown area, to his credit the honourable member for Tamworth has never forgotten where he came from. Those members are anxious for a team from this State to take out the honours on Sunday. Good luck to the mighty Bulldogs in 1998!

Mr HAZZARD (Wakehurst) [10.10 a.m.]: I welcome to the House students from All Saints school, Liverpool. I am sure the boys and girls from All Saints also support the only Sydney team left in the competition this year, the mighty Bulldogs. The Canterbury club is one I would certainly support given the opportunity, provided one other club was out of the competition. Regrettably that club, Manly, is out of the competition. Only last week Bobby Fulton, the mighty coach of the Manly Sea Eagles, was in Kuala Lumpur for the Commonwealth Games. I am sure that he, as the former Australian coach, will also support the Bulldogs on Sunday in their effort against Brisbane.

I worked in Bankstown for about four or five years. During that time I came to know a number of members of the Canterbury club. John Heffernan, who is one of the greatest supporters of the Canterbury club - in fact a major patron and sponsor - has been a friend of mine for more than 20 years. I know that he and his wife, Pat, want to see Canterbury achieve greatness again on Sunday. I have realised over the years that the Canterbury club, the Bulldogs, is a family club. It is centred on a family philosophy, which comes from the patriarch of the club, Peter Moore.

As honourable members are probably aware, Peter Moore is suffering from a severe illness. On behalf of the New South Wales Parliament and the people of New South Wales I convey my best wishes to Peter, his wife, Marie, and their nine children - seven boys and two girls - and wish him a speedy recovery. He has been the heart and soul of the Canterbury Bulldogs for many years. Peter was the proprietor of a newsagency at Belmore, and about 30 years ago he joined the Canterbury club. Many members of the club would say that he has put the club in the strong position it enjoys today. All through the late 1970s and 1980s Canterbury was a force to be reckoned with. The club competed in numerous premierships in the 1980s and was successful in four grand finals.

The club has a history of some of the most amazing players to run onto a rugby league field in New South Wales. It is interesting to note that all the players of Canterbury seem to score nicknames, which I suppose is not unusual in football clubs. The Mortimer brothers, Steve, Peter and Chris were nicknamed Turvey, Parrot and Louie respectively. Peter Moore is known as Bullfrog. Every year the club has the spirit and the determination to reach the grand final. The fact that it was not doing too well in the early part of this season, but rallied to reach the grand final shows the level of resolve of the Bulldogs. I understand that the club has on display the last Winfield Cup, which was won in 1995. On Sunday, if the Bulldogs can win the National Rugby League cup, it will have won the first NRL cup, and that would be another mighty achievement for the mighty Bulldogs.

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Mr Moss: They will keep it, too.

Mr HAZZARD: They probably will keep it for a while. I do not know whether the honourable member for Canterbury will attend the club’s grand final luncheon today.

Mr Gibson: That was on this morning.

Mr HAZZARD: No, the luncheon will be held today at the Belmore Leagues Club. On occasions, members of the Opposition know more than the honourable member for Londonderry. Perhaps he was not invited to the luncheon. If the honourable member wants a taxi, we will send him out there. We wish all the players and supporters the very best for their luncheon today and a great deal of luck on Sunday. The mighty Bulldogs are playing not only in the first grade competition, but its President’s Cup team, previously the reserve grade, has also been successful in making the grand final. Terry Lamb, one of the great former players for the Bulldogs, is the coach of the President’s Cup team.

Steve Folkes is the coach of the first grade team, and Terry Lamb is one of the all-time great players. He was playing football in the late 1970s and 1980s. He was, I believe, the only player ever to have played every game on a Kangaroo tour. It is an amazing record for any player! Lamb was actually on the turf on every Kangaroo tour that he participated in. It might have been only five or 10 minutes on some occasions, but he was on there. Another great player who springs to mind is George Peponis, a medical doctor. He played in the halcyon days of the early 1970s and 1980s. If my memory serves me correctly, George was the Australian captain and hooker of Kangaroo winning sides.

Canterbury-Bankstown has a great history and has made an enormous contribution to New South Wales rugby league. As the honourable member for Canterbury said, the team has made impressive appearances in grand final matches. The honourable member for Canterbury expressed concern as to whether there would be unanimous support in the Parliament for Canterbury-Bankstown. I am sure that when it comes to a New South Wales team beating the Brisbane Broncos there is no question but that all honourable members are 100 per cent behind Canterbury-Bankstown.

Mr Moss: Bless your heart, lad.

Mr HAZZARD: Thank you. The honourable member should extend those sentiments to every other honourable member. Although we may have individual preferences for our own teams, we will all support Canterbury-Bankstown, the team that will play in the grand final. I will be at the game on Sunday and I will make sure that some of the loudest support for the mighty Bulldogs comes from me. The fact that Canterbury-Bankstown did not win the majority of the games played in the first part of the season indicates the team’s level of spirit, commitment and dedication. The team has won its most recent eight games straight. I was in Kuala Lumpur when the team played its most recent game, but I heard about it even from that distance.

Yesterday the Minister for Sport and Recreation, who is the honourable member for Parramatta, expressed her concerns about that game. From as far away as Kuala Lumpur I heard that the team’s most recent two games, first against Newcastle and then against Parramatta, were fantastic. The fact that the team was able to make a huge impact in the final 10 minutes each way and beat the living daylights out of its opposition would suggest that the odds being given the team against the Broncos, which are about 5 to 1 to Brisbane, are terribly wrong. Along with all other members of the House, I will not be backing the Brisbane Broncos. There is no question about my support or that of other honourable members of the House. We will all back the Canterbury Bulldogs. We back Peter Moore and all the other loyal supporters of the Bulldogs - including Peter Warren and John Laws. I wish the team all the very best on Sunday.

Mr GIBSON (Londonderry) [10.20 a.m.]: I wish the Canterbury Bulldogs all the very best for the game on Sunday. I am certain that many of those present in the gallery this morning are supporters of the Bulldogs. The great thing about sport is the unexpected things that happen, particularly with results. The so-called experts said that the Canterbury Bulldogs were gone. After playing in 23 rounds of the competition the Bulldogs were in the top 10. The team was struggling and everyone was saying that it would not make the semi-finals. After 252 games, after 20,200 minutes of rugby league, Canterbury-Bankstown finished at ninth place on the table with 26 points.

The so-called experts said that it would be a miracle if the Bulldogs got any further. They have been proved wrong, not only this time but many times in the past. In 1995 the Bulldogs came from sixth position to win against the odds. At that time the experts said that a team could not win a competition from sixth position. But the Bulldogs proved them wrong. During this year the team was written off. The odds given to Canterbury-Bankstown winning the final were about 140 to 1.

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Mr Fraser: We might start a register.

Mr GIBSON: We will talk about that later. No-one suggested that the grand final would see the Broncos meeting Canterbury-Bankstown. Nobody, that is, except the Canterbury players and their good supporters. The honourable member for Canterbury, who moved this motion, reminded honourable members that the team has won eight consecutive games. The Bulldogs were down 12-0 against St George but came back to win 20-12. They were 2-2 at half time against North Sydney, rallied in the second half and won the game 28-16. The team was down 16-0 against Newcastle but again came back to win 28-16. The Bulldogs were down 18-2 with 11 minutes to go against Parramatta and got up to win 32-20. That is a game that will go down in history and be talked about it for a very long time.

Canterbury-Bankstown is the most successful team in rugby league over the past 10 or 15 years. This year the Broncos have won both their encounters against the Bulldogs, and the Broncos go to Sunday’s final with virtually a State of origin side. On the other hand, Canterbury-Bankstown has no representative players apart from Steve Price and Jason Hetherington, who both played in the State of Origin this year for Queensland. As other honourable members have said, Sunday’s game will be one for the Bullfrog, it will be one for Peter Moore. Peter Moore is Canterbury-Bankstown, and has been for many years. I first met Peter Moore when I finished my playing career with Parramatta. Back in 1969 Peter offered me a contract to go to Canterbury.

Mr Fraser: Did you take it?

Mr GIBSON: No, I did not take up that contract. I have made a few mistakes in my time. I have been a close friend of the Bullfrog ever since then. Pete, his wife and his children are a lovely family. At the moment Peter Moore is fighting cancer and the effects of a recent stroke. He will be at the game on Sunday in his wheelchair and he will sit on the sideline. His presence will lift Canterbury to no small degree. The Doggies are, and always have been, loyal to their litter. I think of many great players through the years. The Mortimers, the Hughes brothers, the Folkeses and the Hagans are all part of the Canterbury-Bankstown family.

Steve Folkes, a member of the Canterbury-Bankstown family, was given the coaching job this year. He could be the first coach to win a reserve grade premiership one year and the first grade competition in the next year. No coach has yet won two competitions in successive years. Steve had a very difficult task this season. He dropped Hazem El Masri. People said that dropping such a good player was a wrong move. But Steve gave a young kid, Gavin Lester, a go. That is what Canterbury-Bankstown is all about. For the first couple of weeks it did not appear that Steve’s experiment had worked. But, believe me, it did. Gavin Lester is playing great football.

On Sunday Daryl Halligan’s boot will keep Canterbury-Bankstown in the game. He is probably the greatest goal kicker the game has ever seen. Terry Lamb has made a fantastic effort. He has played in 349 first grade games and four grand finals. His spirit will be there on Sunday, which will also lift the team. At the end of the game the other day, after the Bulldogs beat Parramatta, the Premier, standing there with a beer in one hand and a pie in the other, said, "Rugby league has been the winner here today." Canterbury-Bankstown will be the winner on Sunday.

Mr WINDSOR (Tamworth) [10.25 a.m.]: It is with great pleasure that I support this motion moved by the honourable member for Canterbury. I was intrigued to listen to the endorsement of the honourable member for Londonderry, but I am afraid that he lost me towards the end of his speech. I have been a Canterbury-Bankstown supporter since childhood. In my years at Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School all students had a team that we supported. Canterbury-Bankstown has been my team since then. I guess the reason I was attracted to Canterbury-Bankstown at that time goes back to a legendary full-back of whom the honourable member for Canterbury would be well aware - I think he is old enough to remember the giant of rugby league Les Johns. I have admired the team from that time.

Through the years the Bulldogs have had some great players, and I, too, think of the Mortimers, the Hugheses, the Hagans and Daryl Halligan. Canterbury-Bankstown has been a great team. As has been said previously in the debate, one of the team’s successes has been its achievement in developing great team spirit. There have been many other good rugby league teams in New South Wales that have put great individual players together. The strength of Canterbury-Bankstown has always been that it is a good team, and that is something that encourages children in particular to support it. Recent final series games, in particular the game against Newcastle and the game last Sunday against Parramatta, have been riveting. I hope that the Bulldogs win next Sunday. I will attend that match - the first grand final that I will have attended since the South Sydney-Balmain game in 1969. Of course, at that time I was a teenager.

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The precedent that gives honourable members the right to lie was set by the honourable member for Londonderry. It is 29 years since I have been to a grand final and it will be a great pleasure for me to see Canterbury-Bankstown represented at the reserve grade grand final. The honourable member for Canterbury said earlier that I was a supporter of Canterbury-Bankstown and that I had not forgotten my roots, which is not strictly true. I do not come from that area. In fact, I come from a small place called Werris Creek. Many honourable members would know - I know that the Minister for Local Government is well aware of this because he would have loved to visit Werris Creek but has been unable to do so because of ministerial duties - that Werris Creek won four of the last five grand finals in group four.

This year, however, the Gunnedah Bulldogs won that game. But Werris Creek, which has a great team, won four of the last five games. There are many similarities between the Werris Creek and Canterbury-Bankstown teams. I congratulate the Werris Creek rugby league team - another great team that is playing great football. As this motion is about rugby league I congratulate my old school, Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School, on playing last Saturday in the grand final of the university shield. Unfortunately, that team lost to Westfield; nonetheless it was a great effort. I have much pleasure in supporting the motion. I will attend the match on Sunday and I believe that the Bulldogs will be the winning team.

Mr STEWART (Lakemba) [10.30 a.m.]: I proudly support the motion moved by the honourable member for Canterbury. I will tell honourable members what the Bulldogs and Canterbury-Bankstown League Club are all about by referring to last Sunday’s league match between Parramatta and Canterbury. After 69 minutes the score was 18 to 2 and Canterbury had almost written off the game. After 70 minutes the score was 18 to 6; after 75 minutes it was 18 to 12; and after 77 minutes it was 18 all. At that stage, unbelievably, the game went into extra time. After 81 minutes the score was 18 to 19; after 84 minutes it was 18 to 25; after 95 minutes it was 18 to 26; and it then went to 20 to 26 and, finally, 20 to 32. A lot of Parramatta supporters left the game at around the 75-minute mark as they thought that Parramatta had won.

The score demonstrates the determination of the Bulldogs to win against all odds. I am sure that that is what will happen this Sunday when they play against the Brisbane Broncos. I am proud to have the Canterbury-Bankstown League Club and the Belmore sportsground within my electorate. Earlier the honourable member for Canterbury referred to the fact that the Bulldogs won seven premierships - in 1938, 1942, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1988 and 1995. The honourable member for Wakehurst referred to the fact that the Bulldogs won the last Winfield Cup in 1995. I hope that on Sunday they will win the inaugural National Rugby League cup.

This year has been a proud year for the Bulldogs. They were the underdogs; they were written off by everyone except their supporters. The odds against them winning this year were 150 to one - which would have been good for anyone wanting to place a bet. People had written them off and it was said that there was no way the Bulldogs would get over the hurdles confronting them. They did, and they are now in the grand final. I pay tribute, as have the honourable member for Canterbury and the honourable member for Wakehurst, to Peter Moore - the ethos of and the man at the heart of the Bulldogs.

Reference was made earlier to the fact that Peter Moore is not well. However, I think he is getting on top of his illness and I know that the Bulldog’s recent win was very uplifting for him. Recently, I was silly enough to ring Peter while he was in hospital, just after the game between St George and the Bulldogs. I did not realise that he was watching a delayed broadcast of the game on television. I rang him in hospital with the intention of congratulating him on the Bulldog’s amazing win, but his daughter quickly told me not to say a word because I would not be regarded as a friend for the next few months if I disclosed to him who had won the game. Apparently, he was sitting on the edge of his bed waiting for the result - and what a proud result it was!

The Bulldogs, who have been located in the Belmore area since 1938 - a period of 60 years - have been very much involved in the ethos of the local area. It has often been said that when the Canterbury Bulldogs are winning so is the local area. Morale in Belmore has been high because of the success of the Bulldogs. It should not be forgotten that the Bulldogs have contributed a lot to the local area. The club is not worried about what it needs; it is worried about the local area, which it has supported wholeheartedly during the past 60 years. Many services have been provided in my local community as a result of the Bulldogs football club. Mention should be made of Bob Hagan, the chief executive, who started in that position in difficult circumstances.

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Bob Hagan took over from Peter Moore - who is a legend. Bob has successfully filled Peter’s shoes and has assisted the Bulldogs to achieve their recent success. I refer also to Barry Nelson, president; Garry Hughes, football manager; Kevin Dawes, Bob Williams and Fred Ciraldo, dressing room attendants; Hugh Hazard, the club doctor who does a wonderful job; Larry Britton, the head trainer; Albert Alonso, the physiotherapist; Billy Johnstone, the strength and conditioning coach; Michelle Cox, the medical assistant; Les Bateman and Alan Schwebel, statisticians; and Dallas Tiller and Brian Proops, timekeepers. Steve Folkes has become a legend as the coach of the Bulldogs. His inaugural year was as a first-grade coach and he is responsible for the Bulldog’s success - something which was not achieved in 1988 under the coaching of Phil Gould.

This is an amazing success story for Steve Folkes. Full credit to him for the way in which he has kept the Bulldogs going. I make reference to Alan Nelson, manager and Garry Carden, the trainer. The success achieved by the reserve grade team has been due to the efforts of Terry Lamb, the coach; Lloyd White, the manager; Benjamen Gillies, the trainer; and Les Rolls, the strapper. The players, under the captaincy of Darren Britt, worked hard this year. Darren also helped the Bulldogs achieve their success.

Mr JEFFERY (Oxley) [10.35 a.m.]: I have great pleasure in supporting the motion moved by the honourable member for Canterbury. However, I say to the honourable member for Canterbury who asked all honourable members to support this motion that it might be a somewhat difficult call for those members who represent northern electorates. I am sure that it is heartbreaking for some honourable members to be located in certain electorates. However, this motion is all about sport. One wonderful aspect of sport is that it unites people. Sport, is a much better leveller than politics. This weekend we will all witness another amazing game. On Sunday I was on the Comboyne plateau, near Taree in my electorate. I turned on the radio, heard that the score was Parramatta 18, Canterbury Bulldogs 2, and turned the radio off. When I got home later that night and turned the television on the game had gone into extra time. I wondered what was going on. It was an amazing turnaround. I was as surprised as many others to see the Bulldogs playing such a wonderful game.

Much mention has been made today about Peter Moore, OAM. It is an inspiration to the Bulldogs to be associated with a person of his calibre. Honourable members know that Peter has been ill but he hopes to be at the game on Sunday, in a wheelchair, to barrack for the Bulldogs. Peter has written to all members of the Canterbury-Bankstown team and I believe his personal note will give them a lift. Peter is loved by all; he is the life and soul of the area, and will be an inspiration to the Bulldogs. Peter Moore was elected to the Canterbury-Bankstown Leagues Club committee in 1968 and became the club’s secretary the following year. He was responsible for recruiting talented players to the club during the past 30 years.

Peter has also managed two Kangaroo tours and many State and city representative sides. He was a board member of the New South Wales and Australian rugby league clubs throughout the 1980s. Peter and his wife, Marie, have nine children and have had a strong involvement with rugby for a long time. Amongst his sons-in-law is the current Canterbury coach, Steve Folkes, and the Melbourne Storms coach, Chris Anderson. However, I have to confess I am an Australian rules footballer and have played in a couple of States.

Mr Iemma: Who do you support?

Mr JEFFERY: I support the Sydney Swans. I used to play for the Swans in Victoria. I will be supporting North Melbourne, the Kangaroos, because my brother-in-law, Mike Dowdell - my wife’s sister’s husband - played for the firsts in North Melbourne in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In those days I was always able to get tickets to the grand final! If I had been able to go to Melbourne on Saturday I would have had a ticket to the grand final between North Melbourne and the Adelaide Crows, which will also be a good game.

However, on Sunday I will barrack for the Bulldogs who will use momentum and beat the Broncos in a very close match. The Bulldogs have won eight games in a row, so it will be a tremendous game. In the 1980s the Bulldogs were firing. They made the grand final in 1995 and have made the grand final again this year. The Bulldogs’ reserve grade has also done very well in the President’s Cup. I will put on the record some of the Bulldogs great tries and goals. In August 1942 Edgar Newham scored five tries against Balmain - the most tries in a match - when Canterbury won 26 to 20. On 19 April 1998 Daryl Halligan kicked 10 goals against the Gold Coast at Belmore - the most goals in a match - when Canterbury won convincingly. There have been some wonderful individual achievements. The Canterbury-Bankstown team has great team spirit which has been epitomised by Peter Moore. Team effort has got Canterbury to the stage it is at now. I have great pleasure in supporting Canterbury.

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Mr Fraser: How much start?

Mr JEFFERY: Not being a gambler like the honourable member for Coffs Harbour I will put on the record 18 to 14 the Bulldogs way.

Mr ROGAN (East Hills) [10.40 a.m.]: I am delighted to join with other speakers in congratulating Canterbury on being in the grand final. I wish them every success this weekend. I also congratulate the honourable member for Canterbury for having moved this motion in the House today. He represents the electorate of Canterbury and it is fitting that he should have moved the motion. As a representative of an electorate in the Canterbury-Bankstown district - indeed the borders of my electorate are within the drawing area for Canterbury-Bankstown - it gives me great pleasure, on behalf of the legion of fans within my electorate, to support Canterbury this weekend.

Who could ever forget the win last Sunday? Commentators have described it as perhaps one of the greatest finals in a rugby league match ever witnessed in New South Wales. As I wanted to live the game and did not want to watch a delayed telecast, I listened to the match report on the radio. I was so disappointed that I almost turned the radio off 15 minutes before full-time. If I had done so I would have missed one of the greatest finals ever. It is typical of the fighting spirit of Canterbury-Bankstown to come from what was considered to be an impossible position to take victory. I believe they will also take victory this weekend.

Today much has been said about Peter Moore, the "Bulldog" as he affectionately known. I wish to speak today, firstly, because of my great support for the team and, secondly, because I could not front Peter Moore if I had not been associated with the motion today. As honourable members know, and as has been well publicised, recently Peter Moore suffered a serious illness which was compounded by a stroke. A former councillor of Bankstown council, Ray Buchanan, is also an executive member of Canterbury and is a loyal follower of the game. I know Ray Buchanan would want me to mention his name today because he has been loyal to Canterbury for many years. He joined that great team including Bob Hagan, Barry Nelson and one of the great players who was captain of the 1995 premiership team, Terry Lamb.

Canterbury has never refused a request to provide players for charity functions or for other community events, even if it created difficulties for the club, and that has been greatly appreciated by the community. I recall an occasion about two years ago when Terry Lamb attended a president’s day function at Revesby bowling club, Terry was great on the field but lawn bowls was not his forte. He came there to lend his support and that is typical of his spirit and typical of the spirit in the Canterbury-Bankstown area, which has a high ethnic population of Arabic-speaking people who, one might expect, would follow soccer. The ethnic community has always supported the Bulldogs team and that is a great success story for our multicultural society. The Bulldogs have a lot of supporters from a whole range of diverse groups. I join with all other honourable members in wishing Canterbury all the very best.

Mr O’DOHERTY (Ku-ring-gai) [10.45 a.m.]: I will not talk about North Sydney Leagues Club today, but I will talk about Canterbury-Bankstown Leagues Club’s assault on the National Rugby League premiership. Before I do so, I acknowledge in the gallery the presence of year 5 students from All Saints, Liverpool, who are listening to this important debate. All honourable members will join with the students in wishing Canterbury, the pride of New South Wales, all the best in Sunday’s match. For the benefit of the Hansard reporters, I note that the students have their thumbs raised in the air in support of Canterbury. The teachers have not yet committed themselves by raising their thumbs. Perhaps there are a couple of Bronco supporters among them. It is appropriate that the young people of New South Wales support Canterbury-Bankstown Leagues Club because that club has always supported them.

As a broadcaster at 2GB, I remember the 1980s as a fabulous decade. It was a great decade for broadcasting, a great decade for 2GB and a great decade for Canterbury-Bankstown Leagues Club. Canterbury really hit its straps in the 1980s. I sat in the broadcast box with my friend Greg Hartley to watch the Australian Rugby League grand final in 1984 or 1985, or both. Although I was not known for my tipping prowess, I distinguished myself by tipping Canterbury against the odds. Canterbury won, and I gained legendary status amongst my 2GB colleagues. Greg Hartley, a great advocate of the Canterbury club, introduced me to the Mortimers. I remember well the family feeling of the club, with the Mortimers bringing their children to the matches. The Mortimer wives played an important role in promoting rugby league as a family event and Canterbury as a family team.

I acknowledge the contribution that was and continues to be made by Stevie Mortimer - Turvey, Peter Mortimer - Parrot, Chris Mortimer - Louie, and their families. I also acknowledge the
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contribution that Peter Moore has made to the game of rugby league and to the development of young people in the Canterbury area over many years. Bullfrog, as he is known, is unwell, but the rumour is that he will leave his hospital bed and make it to the match on Sunday. That will be an excellent fillip and motivation for the team to win the first ever National Rugby League Cup. Canterbury won the last Winfield Cup, and it is securely locked in the club’s premises, never to leave. It would be a significant achievement if the club also captured the first NRL Cup in this interesting rugby league season.

Mr Hazzard: Peter Moore will be there on Sunday.

Mr O’DOHERTY: The honourable member for Wakehurst assures me that Peter Moore will be at the match. The honourable member told me that Peter Moore is called Bullfrog because he looks like a bullfrog and mumbles and grumbles like a bullfrog, but everyone loves him. He has made a great contribution to Canterbury-Bankstown Leagues Club and to rugby league. Importantly, not only will Canterbury leagues club compete in the first grade grand final but it will also compete in the President’s Cup grand final. I want to read onto the record of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, the oldest Parliament in Australia, the names of the players who will go around for Canterbury on the weekend. The coach of the President’s Cup team is Terry Lamb and the players are: Hazem El Masri, Brent Sherwin, Greg Fleming, Brett Robertson, Mohammad Abbas, Tim Breeze, Duncan McRae, Mitch Newton, Robert Mears, Lafi Manua, Jamie Feeney, captain Simon Gillies and Matua Parkinson, with Steve Hughes, Trent Runciman, Anthony Semrani and Adam Perry.

The first grade team that will take the field on Sunday and do its best for New South Wales - the gladiators, the heroes who will take out the Broncos and leave us in no doubt who the best State is - consists of: Rod Silva, Gavin Lester, Shane Marteene, Willie Talau, Daryl Halligan, Craig Polla-Mounter, Corey Hughes, captain Darren Britt, Jason Hetherington, Steve Price, Tony Grimaldi, Robert Relf and Travis Norton, with Troy Stone, Glen Hughes, Steve Reardon and David Thompson. Steve Folkes is the coach, a successful coach with a 60 per cent winning record. Those gladiators will carry with them onto the field the best wishes of the people of New South Wales. The students from Liverpool in the gallery are excited by this debate. I am sure that Canterbury-Bankstown Leagues Club has the unanimous blessings of every member of the New South Wales Parliament. I am pleased to support the motion.

Mr IEMMA (Hurstville) [10.50 a.m.]: I support the motion moved by the honourable member for Canterbury and I congratulate Canterbury-Bankstown Leagues Club on its success. Its achievements over the past few months are symptomatic of the club’s philosophy over many decades. For a long time the club has been known as the family club. In particular, two families have been the cornerstone of the club’s success - the Moore family and the Stewart family. Without the driving force of Peter Moore Canterbury would not be where it is today and has been in past years, particularly in the mid-1980s when it won a number of premierships. Its success over the past couple of months against all odds is a tribute to the philosophy instilled by Peter Moore and to the club that he helped to build up. The ability of the club to come back from hopeless situations on three occasions to make the grand final must be an uplifting experience for Peter Moore during his present illness.

The other family is the Stewart family. Kevin Stewart, a former member for Canterbury, is the President of the football club. He is following in the footsteps of his father Frank senior and his brother the late Frank Stewart, who was a Minister in the Whitlam Government and a tremendous supporter of the Canterbury team. Kevin, Frank and Frank senior have done a great deal for the club and the teams over many decades. Much of the club’s success is attributable to their support. Canterbury has been an innovative club, and was responsible for borrowing innovative methods from the United States of America, particularly the scholarship system. Peter Moore was instrumental in introducing a scholarship system in the late 1970s, which provided footballers with the opportunity to play football as professionals and to gain educational qualifications in order to pursue a career after football. Probably the best example of the success of that scholarship system is Dr George Peponis, who captained Canterbury and went on to captain Australia.

The National Rugby League should note the size of the crowd number - 37,000 fans - that attended last weekend’s match between Canterbury and Parramatta. It was the only game in all of the play-off final matches that went anywhere near to filling the modest Sydney Football Stadium. The NRL should heed that message and back off from trying to force what I would call the passion clubs in rugby league, such as Parramatta, Canterbury, St George, South Sydney and Balmain, into amalgamations they do not want. The NRL should borrow the philosophy employed by the Australian Football League a few years ago when it built a successful national competition around the traditional clubs, the clubs that have proved to be successful and have a large following. The NRL
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should take heed of the message that the only game that came anywhere near to filling that modest stadium was played by Parramatta and Canterbury, the two clubs that virtually exchanged premierships in the mid-1980s.

Certainly the NRL should build a national competition, but it should also acknowledge that clubs such as Parramatta, Canterbury, St George, South Sydney and Balmain should be the cornerstone of a national competition, and not force them into phoney moves and amalgamations. The Victorian Football League, as it was known, tried to do the same thing over a decade ago. It picked on the Essendon and Collingwood football clubs and forced them into amalgamations and transfers. That plan backfired. Heed the message: build a national competition from rugby league’s heartland, where rugby league is strong. Go the Bulldogs!

Motion agreed to.