THERE are times I think we rugby league types could be a powerful lobby group – if we could actually identify each other more readily.

Welcome to my first column for It was nice of the boys to ask me to write this – every couple of weeks in the off-season and then (maybe) every week when 2013 kicks off in earnest.

My brief is to share my experiences in being on the road in pursuit of rugby league, year-round. I’m a rugby league journalist but before that, I was a flag-waving Illawarra Steelers fan who at one stage went to games in full kit except the studded boots.

I hope there are no photos.

Before the Steelers entered the old NSWRL premiership in 1982, my mum was dragged to St George games on Mothers Day at least twice. Lidcome Oval had its charms, yes, but not on a day when your old lady is supposed to be honoured.

These days I write for media outlets in Australia and the UK on rugby league. But it’s far from being just a job. I used to have a proper abode in Sydney, with books and furniture and CDs and a kitchen. But once I found myself going to four games a week, sometimes all of them outside Sydney, and spending the entire off-season overseas, I soon found this hard to justify.
Now I have just a room in Sydney’s Erskineville, with a single bed and a desk. I am on the road for more than half of every week during the NRL season – and for the entire off-season. You know the expression ‘I sold my soul for rock’n’roll’? Well, I cancelled my lease for rugby a treize.

At the start of one off-season, I determined that I could not afford to pay rent on my apartment and travel. I was going to stay home all summer – in a city many people travel great distances in which to spend the sunny months.
Still, this seemed rather depressing.

So when two grim-faced real estate agents came knocking on my door to tell me I would have to move out because a new owner wanted to live there, the look on their faces when I punched the air and thanked them for evicting me was something to behold!

read on


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