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THIS is without doubt my favourite week in rugby league. The connection with the game’s past and the opportunity to do something to assist the wonderful efforts of the Men of League Foundation is what makes rugby league so great.
I feel an even greater sense of responsibility to make this issue of Big League one to cherish for all footy fans simply because the week is dedicated to fond recollections and of honouring the legends to have played the game.
Call it an abuse of power but the chance to bring the past and present Rabbitohs No.7s together at Redfern Oval this past week for a feature story and cover shoot allowed me to fulfil a lifelong ambition.
When I was a young bloke all I wanted to do was play halfback for South Sydney. More specifically, I wanted to play footy like Craig Coleman. When we did screen printing for art at Tyalla Primary School my white T-shirt had ‘Smith’s Crisps’ on the front and a big number ‘7’ on the back. I once got into trouble with my mum for doing the old ‘bushman’s hanky’ as my brothers and I played footy on the front lawn, my excuse being that I was just doing what Craig Coleman did.
The fact that ‘Tugger’ coached the young man with the hopes of a club resting on his right leg, Adam Reynolds, made our time spent on Redfern Oval even more special.
Tugger had a thousand stories of how the game was harder back in the ‘80s while Adam was always very respectful of those who have come before him.
This issue is dedicated to the heroes of our game, both past and present, and I encourage you to find a way to make your own connection this week, whether by chatting to someone from a different era or by taking up membership with the Men of League for just $20.
I love this week and I hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together.