November 11, 1996: John Quayle quits
The end of an era as the man who drove rugby league's rise in Australia steps aside.
Several chapters of Two Tribes are dedicated to personalities - and John Quayle’s was the most intriguing of these to write.
On November 11 1996, he stepped down as CEO of the Australian and New South Wales Rugby Leagues.
And he completely removed himself from the sport until just a few years back when the NRL bought him in to sort out the mess between the Newcastle Knights and Nathan Tinkler.
Explaining his decision on the day, ‘the Canon’ said: “It’s been a tough day but it’s over. The board were very good about it.
“I’ve been considering my position for some time and the board finally accepted my reasons for going.
“They must find someone who is independent of the war. They have asked me to be involved with the head-hunting group choosing my replacement.
“The scruples that have been lost have shattered me more than anything. So many of the challenges to the game came from within.
“The game has become the victim.
“I have discussed my future with a number of people close to me for some time now and I believe it is time for a new face in the game.
“The draw (for 1997) is done. The sponsorship and TV is in place. The immediate administration tasks will be handled by Geoff Carr, John Brady and Greg Mitchell.
“A new marketing approach will be headed by Ray Beattie.”
What did Quayle consider the highlight of his 13 years in charge? The Melbourne Origin in 1994.
“To have a crowd of 87,000 at a venue for a sport which some said would not interest Victorians was the biggest day of my career.”
MENZIES FACES MEDICAL FOR PNG
Sydney Morning Herald, Monday, September 30 1996
By STEVE MASCORD
MANLY second-rower Steve Menzies will need to pass a fitness test on a thigh injury suffered in yesterday's grand final before he departs on Wednesday for Australia's one-off international against a Papua New Guinea selection in Port Moresby.
Selectors named new caps Andrew Walker (Sydney City), Daniel Gartner (Manly) and Michael Buettner (North Sydney) in an 18-man squad to be captained by Manly skipper Geoff Toovey.
The premiers dominated selection, with six players chosen after yesterday's success against St George.
But Manly and Australian doctor Nathan Gibbs admitted there was some concern over Menzies.
"Obviously, we'll have to keep an eye on him," Gibbs said. "It's only a cork but it's bad as far as corks go. I think he'll be able to overcome it."
Centre Terry Hill said he was prepared to have painkilling injections again to take on the PNG side, representing the ARL-bankrolled National Rugby League of PNG.
Australian coach Bob Fulton is expected to name a starting side later this week.
Newcastle fullback Robbie O'Davis will be the travelling emergency reserve on Australia's first trip to PNG since the tear gas-marred 1991 excursion.
A sizeable group of representative stars made themselves unavailable for the international because of injury, including incumbent captain Brad Fittler of Sydney City, Newcastle trio Matthew Johns, Adam Muir and Jamie Ainscough, Parramatta duo Jim Dymock and Dean Pay, Illawarra centre Paul McGregor and North Sydney winger Brett Dallas.
ARL chairman Ken Arthurson held the party line that all Super League players were considered but said there were doubts over their availability because they had pulled out of games against a non-News Ltd New Zealand side this year.
"It was problematical those guys would even have played because they've elected to withdraw before," Arthurson said.
"Obviously, that was in the minds of the selectors."
Meanwhile, Manly fullback Matthew Ridge had some more good news after the grand final when he learned he had been reinstated to the New Zealand team for Saturday's first Test against PNG at Rotorua.
Team management had dropped him because of concussion suffered in the semi-final against Cronulla.
"I've got the utmost respect for Nathan Gibbs, and if Nathan says he's well enough to play, he's well enough to play," said NZ coach Frank Endacott, in Sydney with the unsuccessful Auckland reserves grand final side.