Here we go again. Another year. Another Rugby Season and another opportunity to start restoring Vikings to its default position as Illawarra’s leading Rugby Club. As is usual in any Newsletter One, there is a preponderance of red, with only 32 financial members to start the year. Well done gentlemen.

This should motivate all Longhorns who find their names recorded in vermilion, to rectify the situation by sending outstanding dues to Treasurer Richard (Noddy) Robinson, “Viking Longhorns, A/C 001146367, BSB 641-800. Your chance to get the best value for your subs by being “in the black”, by Newsletter Two in April. Do it now.


The content of our Newsletters throughout the year informs members of things that have happened as well as things that are going to happen. The first Newsletter however always leans heavily towards the latter and this one is no exception. There’s a lot in the pipeline for 2023 from Vikings new board.

It has been noted that there are some illustrious Longhorns, (who aren’t short of a quid), and with a long connection to Vikings Rugby Club, whose donations are still conspicuous by their absence. I can only assume that they tried to send their donation to the wrong A/C number, (the one that I inadvertently circulated), and that their donations were, or will be returned to them. I further assume that they will then be sent to the correct account which is Vikings Rugby Club Inc. A/C number 100 503 945, BSB 641-800. Got it right this time, I know they’ll want their names up somewhere in the Club. They can be recorded as having Gold, Silver or Bronze Membership for $600, $400 or $200 respectively, or to be shown on the “300 Club” Board which will put them back $300. Hopefully, they won’t end up on the “Tight Arse” Board, which I believe is under consideration. Just saying.

I have been in consultation with the Longhorn Board and a decision has been made to discontinue the regular First Friday Drinks, which Craig Delaney suggested about 30 years ago and which have provided many opportunities for lots of old friends from Vikings Rugby Club to maintain contact and continue to enjoy each other’s company on a regular basis over many years. This cohort has been diminishing in number however, with many of that group “moving on”, in various ways. Younger generations of Vikings have not been as enthusiastic as were earlier generations to support FFD’s and even we, including myself, now tend to find Friday nights at home quite appealing.

The Covid years haven’t helped, so it has been decided that regular FFD’s are now off the calendar. Our February FFD was our last. If special occasions should arise, we could certainly organise “one-off get-togethers” in such cases. I must emphasise that this cessation of FFD’s does not signal the demise of The Longhorns. Many of those spear-heading the Viking Renewal this year, including Viking President Spiro are Longhorns who realise our importance to the Club and will be looking for ways to boost our membership and provide other social occasions for us. Don’t give up on your membership. I will continue to produce our Longhorn Newsletters to keep you informed of what’s happening, interspersed with a few jokes to maintain your interest. Please keep contributing jokes, but they will need to get past the Margaret filter.

Came across a new word, “testiculate”, recently. It means to wave one’s arm about whilst talking bollocks.

A man of mischievous bent was walking was walking in the countryside with his young nephew past a paddock where a cow was standing near the fence. As they passed the cow went “moo” and the man mooed back. The young lad was intrigued and asked, “Why did you do that uncle Jack?” His uncle then said, “I was just having a chat with the cow. I can speak Cow.” What did it say?” asked the boy, to which his uncle replied, “It said that when we get home you should put small stones in all of Auntie’s shoes.” That one’s for the kiddies.

Many will know our long-term Longhorn, Jack Dasey, a former first grade prop with Vikings from the early years. A hard man, Dase loved the physical side of rugby and didn’t feel that he’d had a game if he didn’t come off bleeding. He now has acquired a quite different persona. In later life Dase has devoted much of his time to caring for even more elderly people than himself, and for his efforts has been admitted to the Order of Australia. Congratulations Jack Dasey O.A.M.

As mentioned earlier in the Newsletter a lot of good things are happening at Vikings Rugby Club. So as to not overburden you with too many “good news items” at once, I’ll spread them throughout this Newsletter.

Good news Item 1. Michael Crane has accepted the position of Head Coach for 2023. A Life Member of the Club with over 400 games to his credit, Michael has confined his coaching in recent years to Third Grade with considerable success. His straight-talking, no-nonsense approach to rugby has given him immense credibility over the years and has led to players being very loyal to him as a coach and having great confidence in his approach to coaching. He will be assisted by his good mate Mark (Blommy) Foster (another Viking Life Member) who claims to be the brains behind the dual appointment. We’ll see. Michael has made it clear that he will welcome into his coaching panel any additional assistance that is available All good news.

Ian (The Beast) Tobin, with the support of Larry Jennett, Wollongong Surf Club supremo, former Viking and (DRU referee has been promoting Vikings Rugby Club amongst the Surf Club membership. The historical link between these two famous sporting bodies is well known. It could be of mutual benefit once again.

Good news Item 2. The fund-raising needed to achieve Vikings objectives this year is proceeding well and has recently received a major boost, with President Spiro signing up a major sponsor for a substantial amount. Our knight in shining armour is Pro-Hire, a locally owned and operated plant hire company based in Unanderra. If you or your friends need to hire any equipment, large or small, for major constructions or “do it yourself” jobs around the home that’s where you should go. They help us. We help them. Make sure you identify yourself as a Viking. We’re all part of the Viking family now.

In light of the previous announcement on page 1 that our FFD’s were to be discontinued because of poor attendance, it was ironic that on the morning of February 3 I had a phone call from Peter Rowley that he and Kerry were over for a visit from their home in France and would be at the FFD that night. I sent out an email to our members informing them of this and lo and behold, about 30 people turned up. Just like the old days. Most stayed for a meal and a good time was had by all. At least our final FFD went off with a bang and not a whimper. For the record I will list those in attendance. John Martin, Dave Cavenagh, Steve Crane, Isi Caudura, John Rowley, Merrick Mildenhall, Richard Robinson, Luke Pickering, Kyle Page, Peter and Kerry Rowley, Peter and Anne Woods, Paul and Anne Hopkins, Steve and Karen Dawson, Bill and Mary Lavery, Don and Beryl Wood, Steve and Fee Chaffe, and possibly others who I don’t recall. Paul Hopkins suggested to me that I should write the names down on a coaster as used to occur at Hal’s Tavern over thirty years ago, but I didn’t get around to it. My apologies to any omissions and thanks to Peter and Kerry for making it happen.

Are you aware of the fact that by replacing potato chips with grapefruit as a snack, you can lose up to 90% of whatever joy you have left in your life? Good news Item 3. Some Longhorns have asked me what their donations are being used for. As well as subsidising Club Fees or providing Loss of Income insurance, as previously explained, the club is undergoing renovation and maintenance, after which Steve Cornford, another 400 game veteran, as well as a Viking Life Member and Past President, will once again undertake its repainting. We all love Corny. Best of all, after this has all been done, Viking memorabilia, including our beloved large Viking mural, will be returned to the main club-room so that Vikings will once again look like a rugby club. Really looking forward to that.

Here’s a tip. No matter how fragrant the hand-wash is, don’t emerge from the restroom smelling your fingers.

Good news Item 4. The word around the traps is that as their major contribution as a support group to Vikings renewal this year, the Longhorns will be replacing the old barbecue area with one more appropriate for Illawarra’s oldest and most successful rugby club. Just giving all Longhorns a “heads-up” on that possibility, because we will need local helpers, including tradesmen and other specialists. Your subs have put the Longhorns in a quite healthy financial position and I can’t think of a better way to use them. Get ready to answer the call. A combined Longhorns/Tathra team will be attending the World Golden Oldies Rugby Festival in Perth from March 19 to March 26 this year. This will be the thirteenth World Festival attended by the Longhorns, dated from the Christchurch Festival in 1995. A great record. Our participants in Perth in this combined touring party will be Marcus Claridge, Todd Goodwin, Nathan Ryan, Mark (Blommy) Foster and our legendary World Tourist Danny Spillane from Armidale. Tathra Blue Veins are also contributing five player and two wives. They could be players too. It’s happened before. They will all be wearing a hybrid playing strip combining features of each club. We wish them well. They will no doubt be great ambassadors. Just don’t sing The Dingo Song if the Alice Springs Team is within ear-shot.

Whilst writing this I was reminded of an incident that occurred at the Eastwood Charcoals Gala Day in 2010. I had introduced Marcus to Alan Forno, the then President of the Australian Rugby Golden Oldies, (ARGO) which was the body that had organised the Sydney Festival, to be held later that year. Alan had been telling us what had been organised, which he said included many opportunities for musical entertainment. Upon hearing this Marcus told Alan that he had a small Wollongong-based band, which was available for a gig or two if required. Alan did not seem too excited by Marcus’s offer, but Marcus persisted, as only Marcus can do and then said, “I’ll get my people to talk to your people”. I’m not sure who Marcus’s people were, but Alan’s people did not prove to be at all talkative. Better luck in Perth, Marcus. Perhaps you should take your drum.

I just bought a senior’s GPS for the car. It not only tells me how to get to my destination. It also tells me why I wanted to go there.

One of our more corpulent members is now identifying as thin. Claims to be trans-slender.

Good news Item 5. As most of you who have tried to access it will know, the Vikings current website leaves a lot to be desired. Another item of good news is that yet another use for some of the donated funds currently being accumulated is the development of a whiz-bang professional website. Should be up and running within a few weeks. You might even see yourself in a team photo in the Photo Gallery. Lots of other good features too.

A lawyer representing a man charged with murder told him there was good news and bad news. The bad news was that a blood test had shown his blood all over the crime scene. The good news was that his cholesterol level was excellent.

Congratulations to Longhorn Jay Tregonning on his re-appointment as coach of the Australian Women’s Rugby Team, the Wallaroos. Through Jay we have had a couple of good night fixtures under our new lights at Vikings featuring Women’s Rugby. Another one to put in your diary is a Super Rugby Women’s Game between the Waratahs and the Brumbies to be held at Vikings on March 11. They’ll all be looking for a spot in the Wallaroos squad. Should be a great game. Don’t miss it.

The Longhorns AGM was held on Feb.12 with 17 Longhorns in attendance. It was a good meeting, preceded by lunch and involving cool drinks as well. There were a few pre-arranged changes to Board Membership, with incumbent President Marcus Claridge standing down and being replaced by Vikings stalwart and Life Member Nathan Ryan. Marcus was elected Social Organiser, assisted by another good Bluey Paul Nash S.O.B. Nathan Heaton, Richard Robinson and Todd Goodwin were re-elected as Secretary, Treasurer and Club Captain respectively. We remain in good hands. Merrick Mildenhall was at the AGM for a few farewell drinks. He and Louise are emigrating to Mexico next week. They have a daughter living there and beer is very cheap. We’ll miss you both, especially Louise. Keep in touch Merrick and don’t pay your subs in pesos.

I have three habits, these being eating my family and not using commas. That’s for Liz Corfield.

Despite all the good news in this Newsletter, the main objective of Vikings Renewal Plan is still lagging. WE NEED MORE PLAYERS. Please become actively engaged in recruitment. Don’t leave it to others. Relatives, friends, complete strangers. Just keep asking. It works.

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