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Sunday, May 15, 2011

The White Russians of Yarwun (pt 3)

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I thought there were two items to finish this, but it turns out there are three! 

   I mentioned previously that Alec’s brother, Jules, went to Queensland University in the early 1960s. I didn’t know Jules at all, as he was several years older than Alec and I. At the time I’m now talking about, I was in Brisbane, staying with my aunt (Mum’s sister, Mavis) while I was at Teacher’s College, and the TV was on in their lounge room. It was Saturday afternoon, and a Rugby International was being played between Australia and Britain.

    I wasn’t all that interested in Rugby Union, my only contact with it coming through my GPS school pal Paul Moloney, whose shady career on the night train to Brisbane as a card sharp I documented in another story. Uncle George, Aunty Mavis’s husband, really introduced me to the sport while I was staying with them at Enoggera, and we went to some matches, including one where my swimming and gym instructor, Laurie Lawrence (yes, that Laurie Lawrence!) was playing as half-back for Queensland. (Oh man, there’s a whole other story here about Laurie Lawrence and me at Teacher’s College, but ... focus... just focus.)

    Part way through the game showing on TV, with Australia flagging a little, the announcer said that Jules Guerassimoff was about to make his international debut for Australia. At the time I had no idea that he had captained Queensland and was a dual-sport Blue recipient at Queensland Uni. 

    He ran on as a sub, and within seconds had the ball. Three players tried to bring him down, but each of them, like ninepins, lay unmoving and horizontal on the turf after the encounter. He chipped the ball to the winger over the head of the last defender, and his team-mate scored in the corner.

    The game was turned around completely, while the playing field looked like a battlefield in which someone was armed with an AK-47 and everyone else had stones. And that was Jules just running the ball, not defending!

Jules Guerassimoff, photo taken about 2007
    Jules, soon nicknamed “Big Julie” had an illustrious international career in Rugby Union, celebrated as “a crash tackler and clean out merchant extrordinaire, who often hammered opposing backs out of the game.”

    Yep, he surely was that, and the fact that his brother was my friend made me feel glory had been heaped on all of us as well. Oh I know, it’s drawing a long bow, but they were the only ones we had as Calliope kids, so give us a break....

    Still, it explains how Alec could handle himself if need be, just by years of mucking around with Jules and a football amongst the pawpaw trees at Yarwun. Big brothers tend to give little quarter to siblings, especially in football games.

    (I think I’m going to post this in two short parts. Long posts look a bit daunting, I reckon. Don’t you? The other will be posted later in the day.)
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