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Yarn Of The Month (some Great Stories)

14. The 1986 Kangaroos Demolition Derby - Kangaroos disposing of Used Vehicles

Posted by... Jeff Quigley - on ... Saturday, May 05, 2012

YARN OF THE MONTH #14 ..... (original entry date) 01/05/2006.


Get some more beers, or make another
coffee, take your time and have some fun.

Just a quick note here. This is where Quigs selects the best "Your Story" received for the month or a selection of a favorite older yarn - no correspondence will be entered into and the winner gets bugger all.
All yarns are unsubstantiated and are posted in good faith. Its just meant to be a fun thing, share some of our great memories from the Greatest Era of the Greatest Game of All.


An old tradition from the Kangaroo Trips of the 80's.....

The 1986 Kangaroos Demolition Derby

Many of the Kangaroo Touring party would chip in and buy old bomb cars to use as
a means of transport during the long tours.

The novel way of disposing them was usually a demolition derby in the hotel carpark
at the end of the tour to Great Britain.

OH WHAT A FEELING! There were four second hand cars purchased by several of the Kangaroos (1986) The sixteen or so players had outlayed $100.00 each for their piece of the action. There was a 1960 Saab, christened the "Turbo" by its owners. In contrast there was a 1967 Fiat Stationwagon which beared an uncanny resemblance to a hearse and was nicknamed accordingly. Unbeknown to its new owners the "Hearse" did not have the appropriate government duties paid to qualify its legal status. This resulted in a surprise visit one night from the local constabulary, where after initial confusion the owners breathed a big sigh of relief as the matter was resolved without any disciplinary action being taken.

courtesy of Brett Cochranes great book Mud, Sweat and Cheers.

The 1982 Kangaroo version

Rod Reddy discussing how he, Steve Rogers and Craig Young disposed of their car on the last day of the 1982 tour. - From Tony Adams Book, The Hitmen.

Many Kangaroo players have bought old cars on tour, and Reddy, Steve Rogers and Craig Young had a bomb on their hands in 1982. At the end of the tour, they had to decide what to do with the vehicle.

"The car had just about had it. It was in such a state the hotel management wouldn't let us park out the front of the hotel. We had to leave it out the back as they reckoned it gave the place a bad name. The day before we left we tipped it into the canal behind the hotel. As it started to go down, the water pressure must have forced the brake pedal down because the back lights came on. As it started sailing down the canal, and as we ran off, we yelled out: There's someone drowning in that car."

I think (Australian Prop) Donny Mckinnon got the blame for that one.

Royce Simmons hams it up amongst the carnage

The pics appearing are courtesy of Brett Cochrane aka Basquali, from the Book Mud Sweat and Cheers.
The 1986 Australian Rugby League Tour of Great Britain and France

King Wally Lewis, with approved head protection
ready to start the rumble

Target confirmed

Point of impact.

Wally and Chris Mortimer celebrate the successfull demolition


head of the pit crew Gene Miles servicing the motor.


Email from Andrew Sutton, Wakefield, England

Re Wally Lewis.

I had to smile when I saw the pictures on the site of Wally in the old wreck of a Saab, on the last day of the 86 tour.

The boys, I gather, had a bit of a demolition derby at the back of what was then called the Dragonara Hotel in Leeds.

My mate who was a young copper in Leeds at the time, got a call on the radio to attend an 'accident' at the rear of the Dragonara Hotel. He arrived to find the Saab in a wreck with (he swears) the engine still running, but with no sign of Messrs Lewis, Simmons and Roach, who I gather had paid a couple of hunderd quid for the car at the start of the tour.

He also tells the tale of stopping a car full of Green and Gold track suits on a main road in Leeds City centre. The car was a wreck. He had the guys out and was pointing out the defects when one of the Green and Golds says " Jeeze mate, if it's that bad we don't want it and they all buggered off up the road and left the car.

The first tale about the Saab I know is absolutely true but can any of the guys on the tour confirm the second story?

All the best Quigs, being an old fart of fifty I can remember many of the players listed.

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