January 25, 2022

Who Remembers? Random memories of a footy tragic in rugby league isolation

3 min read



Breaking, breaking – news flash!! Rugby league is in lockdown. The worst part is we have no idea how long this thing is going to last. We’re already scratching at the walls!

In times like this, content is king and where better to store gold-plated content than in your own memory bank?

Over the last few days, many flashes, inklings have slid and out of this bonce.

So I’ve decided to start scratching down notes.

Here are a few…


The day Parramatta star Clinton Schifcofske had the worst job in the world. For on this windy June Sunday afternoon in Newcastle, Schifcofske was Eels fullback and up against future Immortal Andrew Johns and his deadly right boot.

Johns didn’t just have it on a string. It wasn’t just a halfback having a good day. He was dead set firing missiles deep into space. Schifcofske surely dropped six or seven.

Schifcofske went on to play for the Maroons and became a Raiders great but he will never forget that 1998 evening in Newcastle.

For the record, Newcastle won 36-12 with Johns scoring two tries and booting four goals.


Keeping with the Eels in Newcastle – who remembers the night the game’s greatest ever referee Bill Harrigan lost his mind and sent a thousand Parramatta players to the sin-bin?

It was 2002 and meant to be a massive grand final rematch at Marathon.

The Knights won by six points and it may have had something to do with Billy putting Michael Buettner (twice), Nathan Hindmarsh and Adam Dykes in the bin.

Apparently the Eels were slowing down the ruck too much.

Parramatta also lost the penalty count 12-3.


Hazem El Masri’s imperial kick on a Sunday afternoon at Shark Park when no goalkicker had any right getting the footy anywhere near the posts?

To put this wretched afternoon into perspective, the great man El Masri had already missed three goals. It was a horrible day. Twisters and typhoons rolled through the stadium (maybe not but it was a shit day).

For reference, Hazem also got a hat-trick of tries but the little winger also banged over a cracking sideline conversion only he could have kicked. The Bulldogs legend hit it and kept it low, starting it ten metres wide of the posts and let the wind bring it back, barely scraping over the crossbar. Exactly how he intended it.


Referee Steve Clark doing his hamstring half way through a game and getting carried off the field? More of this content please!


Unless you were there this one might be hard for those out there in rugby league land to recall. It’s 1998 and it’s the Dragons against Sydney City at Kogarah in a mud bath in front of less than 6000 fans. St George winger Jamie Ainscough must not have been in the mood to play that day because every time the ball was thrown to him, he spiraled it away to someone else. The man refused to get dirty. To the point where everybody was covered in muck and Ainscough still looked brand new.


Cronulla taking over Orana Park in 1998? Yep… so everybody knows the Magpies were battling by 1998 but something very odd happened on this Saturday night at Campbelltown. Pre-game entertainment included Cronulla’s ‘Mermaids’ cheerleaders doing their own routine in the middle of the field AND the visiting Sharks getting the ‘Jaws’ theme played for them when they ran out. Too weird for me.


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