TIGERS GREATS RECALL GOLDEN TIMES OF THE 80S
By Wayne Cousins
30/07/2010 4:58:06 PM
It was a case of recalling fond memories and great times when Balmain Tigers legends Paul Sironen and Steve Roach walked onto the hallowed turf of Leichhardt Oval today.
Sironen and Roach, two of the Tigers favourite sons, were at Leichhardt Oval to help promote the Wests Tigers ‘Back to the 80s’ theme for tomorrow night’s clash against the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks.
“I remember we played a Panasonic Cup final here against the Sharkies in the 80s. I think we won 12-10,’’ Roach recalled.
“A lot of great memories here at Leichhardt for us. There is no place like it.
“I got a bit of a thrill the other day when Willie Mason was saying that it was the best ground he ever played on. He had never played here before.
“Sirro and I are a little bit biased but this is the greatest ground ever.”
In admitting how tough a team the Sharks were in the 80s, Sironen also joked there was a bit of glamour too.
“The Sharks were a very good looking side with Mark McGaw and Andrew Eittingshausen,’’ a smiling Sironen said.
“Gavin Miller sort of balanced the ledger a little bit. Then there were the likes of Michael Speechley, Barry Russell, Michael Porter, Danny Lee. “
Sironen said the Balmain Tigers side of the 80s was very protective of their home turf.
“We were a fairly good side and we were tough to beat at home,’’ Sironen said.
“You always protected your home ground. Our record here was very important to all of us.
“We just made sure it was nice and tough for everyone who ventured into Leichhardt in those days.”
Roach said the opposition knew they were at Leichhardt from the moment they got off the team bus.
“The great thing for me was that we used to sit in the right corner (of the Latchem Robinson stand) and you could see the opposition coming in,’’ he said.
“The sledging would start around 1.30pm when the reserve grade was on.
“When we saw the opposition, we would be pretty revved up about protecting our home ground. We took pride in playing at Leichhardt.
“The great thing about this ground is that the fans can almost reach out and touch you.
“You ask all of the current Wests Tigers players. They just love the atmosphere here. It is a great place. I see the old Wimpys Well is now called the Keith Barnes Stand and it has been done up. That was a great place too after training…plenty of hot dogs.
“Instead of eating paw paws and pineapples and all that stuff, we would have a few beers and a couple of hot dogs after training. It was all good.”
Wests Tigers has arranged a fun night of activities to celebrate the 80s theme. Wests Tigers cheerleaders will be scouring the hill for the best 80s outfit. The two best dressed 80s patrons will receive a $100 voucher each for 90 Rhodes Restaurant at Rhodes.
There also will be a Famous 80s League Legend Look-a-like, so if you or a mate look like Balmain legends Wayne Pearce, Gary Jack, Ben Elias or Paul Sironen, you can win a Balmain Tigers ‘Phillips’ Jersey signed by the four former greats.
The Wests Tigers Dance Team will entertain the crowd with a fantastic 80s dance mix.
And just like the good old days of rugby league in the 80s, three great games will be played on the one day.
The action starts at 3pm when joint competition leaders Balmain Ryde Eastwood Tigers tackle Windsor Wolves in the NSW Cup. Gates open at 2.45pm.
At the completion of the NSW Cup, Wests Tigers tackle the Sharks in round 21 of the Toyota Cup at 5.15pm before the NRL match at 7.30pm.
Brings a to the Eye…
Now FIRE UP WESTS TIGERS…SMASH them Sharkies