Sports talk provides great entertainment
If you receive an invite from the deputy Speaker for the NSW Parliament to a sporting luncheon at Parliament House in Macquarie Street, you'd take it.
Even more so, if the afternoon featured talks from some of Australia's most respected sporting identities.
With Member for Lismore Thomas George as host, more than 150 guests enjoyed the talks from South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire, 1991 Rugby World Cup winning Australia coach Bob Dwyer and legendary boxing trainer Johnny Lewis entertaining the enthusiastic crowd.
Speaking ahead of the NRL finals, the Souths coach pointed out what a hard task still lay in front of his team, complemented the input the four Burgess brothers to the club and stressed what a great influence Russell Crowe was for the entire organisation.
"Russell doesn't interfere with my job, while he is always available to help in any way he can," Maguire said.
Australian rugby fans know now that Wallabies coach Ewen Mckenzie relegated his halfback, Will Genia to the bench for last week's Test with Argentina – but Dwyer predicted this at the lunch before it happened.
Johnny Lewis remembered some of the epic contests his boxers have been involved in over the years. Lewis trained six world champions – including the likes of Kostya Tszyu, Jeff Fenech and Billy Dib – and has great memories of those men, plus many others with whom he has worked.
He paid tribute to Jeff Harding for the courage he showed at Atlantic City in June 1989. Fighting Dennis Andries for the WBC Light Heavyweight title, the referee stopped the fight in the 12th round and awarded it on a TKO to Harding.
Johnny also praised Fenech for his efforts against Azumah Nelson for the WBC Featherweight title at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, in June 1991. This fight was declared a draw but Johnny had no doubt that his boxer was the winner.
Thomas George is a strong supporter of the Men of League Foundation and has been a member of the Northern Rivers branch for 10 years or so. Thomas is also a past President of the Casino RLFC.
By Barry Ross