Bruce Astill
Bruce Astill

A cold beer with . . . attacking Magpie and his air kick

A MAGPIE that attacked on sunny days in September at Lang Park, Bruce Astill was a Souths premiership-winning captain in 1981. He played in three grand finals in a row for Souths.

Astill played for Queensland in 1979 and was there for the heavyweight fight of State of Origin round one 1980. I sat down with FOG 15 and chatted.

It’s 1981 and Souths win the grand final with seconds to go. Do you still buy Mick Reardon a beer when you see him?

1981 was a highlight winning the grand final after losing in 1979 and 1980. We were in all three grades in 1980. It was such a great time at Souths. When I came into first grade in 1974, it was a rough time for the Magpies and we were down the bottom. To captain Souths to a grand final was special.

1979 was a great year too, the first time I played for Queensland and 1974 when I made my Magpies debut.

You missed the 1982 grand final suspended in the major semi. That touchie was keen to get on there and report you for kicking Wally?

I did not touch him. I made the motion of kicking my leg to move Wally. It never touched him, the touch judge is on there, and I got three weeks and missed a grand final. Considering the things that were going on in the game in 1982 that did not get three weeks, an air kick does not deserve three weeks.

You won the Dally M super star of the year in 1982. Did that make up for missing the grand final?

No. It was nice to win the award but it does not make up for missing a grand final. I got a block of land as the award too. The taxman took the land as well so it did not work out too well.

Bruce Astill
Bruce Astill

Did you have an Ipswich player that challenged you?

Valleys had Al McInness and Hugh O’Doherty and of course Des and Rod Morris when I played for Souths. Des Morris was captain when I played for Queensland in 1979.

I did not get to play against him but Allan Langer was just massive for the game in Queensland.

The State League was a great competition and I remember well heading out to Ipswich to freeze at the Reserve.

All my sons went to Ipswich Grammar School so we have that family link to Ipswich.

Night one of Origin you were on the bench. Where is your jumper now?

I still have it. It is in mint condition since I did not get on the field in the first game but got to play again in the decider in 1983. I still have both Origin jumpers.

What are your memories of that night?

I have two memories of that week. First, it was cold, just bitterly cold, at Lang Park in July. The week was very casual we trained and bonded really well. We all got on and the players that came back from Sydney fitted in well and I had not had anything to do with Arthur Beetson before but to play with him was the highlight and winning of course.

Kerry Boustead hurt his ankle in the first half and had to have a needle at halftime. Arthur has said be ready to go you are going to get a run in the second half but it never happened. With reserves and no interchange, they were worried if they threw myself or Norm Carr on they might be left short later on if an injury happened.