Oddball Footy History: Prince Philip’s Kings Cross encounter, Jeff Fenech, Pat Jarvis uses car to straighten injured leg and more Brad Fittler




Rugby league is a funny game. It’s also a crazy, strange, wonderful place full of forgotten memories and bizarre events.

Welcome to Oddball Footy History – Part Two.


Here is a couple of stories to warm the cockles of one’s heart about retired great and former Test player Pat Jarvis.

The Arncliffe junior made his name at St George going on to represent both Australia and New South Wales. He also worked during the week as a copper in Newtown.

Story goes there were a few kids causing trouble in the local neighbourhood. One of those kids happened to be a fella named Jeff Fenech. It was Jarvis that pulled Fenech up, straightened him out and sent him along to the Newtown Police Boys Club where he met trainer Johnny Lewis.

The rest is history as they say.

Fenech now trains Pat’s nephew Brock who actually fought on the Jeff Horn/Manny Pacquiao card at Suncorp Stadium.


According to urban legend, Jarvis did something utterly mad in an attempt to sort out a troubling leg injury.

Jarvis hurt his knee during the 1988 season while playing for Canterbury and required surgery. The second-rower continued to have issues straightening his leg. The story goes, Jarvis laid down a piece of timber over the knee and had a car back over the top of it!


Speaking of coppers… Most old timers have a story they’ve heard about Newtown legend Frank ‘Bumper’ Farrell whether it be from his days leading the Jets or as a beat cop in Darlinghurst.

This story is too good not to tell and comes straight from Larry Writer’s Bumper: The Life and Times of Frank ‘Bumper’ Farrell (one of my favourite rugby league books).

What we do know is that they didn’t make them much tougher or heavy-handed as Farrell. You had to be to survive the underbelly of Sydney back then. ‘Bumper’ would make it his job to go after revelling outsiders and scare them just enough so they never came back. It was for their own good.

One night while walking the beat through the back streets of Kings Cross, Farrell noticed an intoxicated English sailor relieving himself against a wall. Apparently ‘Bumper’ approached the sailor, picked him up and pinned him against the building warning him never to come back to the Cross. Turns out it was Prince Philip.


Most remember the time current Blues coach Brad Fittler chose Braith Anasta at fullback, yes?

Back in 2009, Fittler was battling away as the coach of the struggling Sydney Roosters. Anasta was his captain and star playmaker.

The Roosters were desperate. Fittler is known as being a tad strange. Put them together and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Hours before the Roosters versus Panthers match at Penrith, the news came through. Anasta was playing fullback. The Roosters were flogged 48-6 and Fittler’s contract would soon be ripped up.

If you have an obscure ODDBALL memory of the game, let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter @woodward_curtis or @the81stminute 

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