League legend pulls no punches

by Kate Carr
Article published, 21 October, in the Inner West Courier
Printed with permission


As far as straight-talkers go, they don't get any more frank than Newtown and Wests league legend Tommy Raudonikis, and he reckons punters can expect some more straight-talking in his upcoming Birth of Origin Show with Arthur Beetson.

"I don't talk with a plum in my throat, that's for sure," he said, while slamming the latest talk of booze bans in the rugby league as "utterly ridiculous".

The Birth of Origin show is put on by the Newtown Jets and caps a monster year for the Inner West club, which marked its 100th birthday this year which included losing a heartbreaking grand final.

Raudonikis and Beetson were the first captains of NSW and Queensland in the inaugural State of Origin match,

The two of them recount that match, as well as many other career highlights, as part of the show.

"It's fairly free flowing," he said. "What you see is what you get."

Raudonikis, who played 37 games for the Newtown Jets in his highly decorated career, said the club still made an enormous contribution to rugby league.

"They offer a tradition," he said. "The place is just tremendous."

Earlier this year, Newtown had a $250,000 makeover of the playing service at Henson Park.

"That gave Newtown as good a ground as any team in the competition," Newtown Jets director Glen Dwyer said.

Mr Dwyer said the Jets' main role was funneling players into first grade, a job the club did very successfully.

"This year in one round of the NRL there were 36 players who had played with Newtown at some point in the past three years," he said.

Don't miss
Birth of Origin [unedited]

Join the crowd at the Bowlers Club, 30 October. Book now.

But while the Jets are doing their part, Raudonikis said he was worried about the health of the NRL more generally.

"A lot of work needs to be done for the game," he said. "We need to stop the AFL taking over."

He said the code had got it all wrong with its obsession with curfews and alcohol bans.

"I think curfews are crap," he declared. "We would have laughed if they tried to introduce them in my day."

Birth of Origin will be held at the Bowlers' Club of NSW on October 30, 7.00pm.

© Newtown Jets RLFC 2006