Wynnum Manly centres Ron Milne and John Rhodes stop a Redcliffe fullback in a ball and all tackle with Bob Hardie in support at Redcliffe Showgrounds.
Wynnum Manly centres Ron Milne and John Rhodes stop a Redcliffe fullback in a ball and all tackle with Bob Hardie in support at Redcliffe Showgrounds.

A cold beer with . . . Qld footballer with skilful swerve

Michael Nunn

RON Milne started his career in the backyard with the boy up the road Rod Reddy. He went to Wynnum and Valleys and played for Queensland.

Milne put on a swerve and step, ran off a Nev Hornery pass and we had a beer together.

Your life is intertwined with Rod Reddy isn't it?

We grew up probably 100 metres from each other in Rockhampton. I played all my backyard footy against "Rocket" and then for Brothers in Rockhampton before he went to Sydney.

Rocket was so skilful. He would be a sensation today with his passing at the line and his speed.

I played for Queensland in 1976, I was on the bench for Queensland and Rocket was on the bench for NSW.

Lawrie Kavanagh, the Courier Mail journalist, was on to the fact we were mates and from Rockhampton and pulled us both out of camp to have our photo taken together.

In the game we lost 10-5 but Steve Crear has put a kick through for me and I am in the clear and then my great mate Rocket has come across and smashed me - elbows, knees the lot. I got up and gave him a massive spray.

No mates when you're playing for Queensland.

They used to have this race in Sydney to see who was the fastest back and fastest forward. I was living with Rocket in Sydney and he was in the race against Ron Coote and Bob McCarthy he got me to put $100 on him and he won by a long way.

The 1975 First Grade Wynnum Manly rugby league team semi-finalists: Back row - Ron Milne, Keith Smith, Lew Platz, Inosi Toga, Bob Warren, Bob Patterson, John Dowling. Front row: Warren Hodges, Gary Seaton, John Rhodes, Bob Clapham, Gordon Haigh, Jim Fredricksen. Absent: Nev Hornery, Ken Churchill, Peter Inskip.
The 1975 First Grade Wynnum Manly rugby league team semi-finalists: Back row - Ron Milne, Keith Smith, Lew Platz, Inosi Toga, Bob Warren, Bob Patterson, John Dowling. Front row: Warren Hodges, Gary Seaton, John Rhodes, Bob Clapham, Gordon Haigh, Jim Fredricksen. Absent: Nev Hornery, Ken Churchill, Peter Inskip.

You end up at Wynnum and the Seagulls had a good year in 1975 and made the finals for the first time since 1959. Tell us about that.

Wynnum recruited very well that year - the great Nev Hornery, Lew Platz Peter Inskip and John Rhodes.

We made the finals and played Easts in the elimination final and won 9-7. It was a bit of an upset because Easts had won their last six in a row and beaten us 27-4 on the way to the finals.

Then onto the Dolphins and we got rolled 22-15. Bunny Pearce kicked five goals and scored a try and Forrester Grayson scored.

Hornery was a great player. He played in Ipswich for Swifts and was just a beautiful passer of the ball. That year I got 18 tries and nine of them would have been off a pass from Hornery. His reputation was mad lunatic but very skilful player. He could deliver a beautiful pass.

I followed John Rhodes to Valleys and then retired pretty young back to Central Queensland.

Would you play now in 2021 or 1975?

In 1975. I would need to put on 19 kilos to play now. They are so big and strong and I didn't have that at all. I was pretty fast and could score tries. But we just had our own skills we never went to the gym or had diets. You just used what you had.

I got to play for really successful clubs right from the start. Brothers in Rockhampton, we didn't lose a game for two years, then Rockhampton Grammar we beat Yeppoon our rivals and didn't lose for three years. By the time I played A Grade I had played in eight grand finals in a row. It was great fun.

Do you enjoy the game now?

I enjoy watching Sam Walker play because he's just so different. He's like an old school player in 2021. Just skill and playing footy. It's been great to see over the last month. Kicking off both feet, throwing passes to outside men. Watching him it's just in-built. He's just a player. He reminds me a lot of Alf, just a natural player.

I hate the obstruction rule. You get rewarded for a poor choice and the ball is 20 metres away. It's been a try for 100 years and now we are changing it. I find it pretty frustrating.

Do you have a favourite Ipswich player from your time?

Des Morris, great player and great man. Very skilful player, very tough.



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