Canterbury Bulldogs and former Ipswich halfback Craig Polla-Mounter with club great Terry Lamb.
Canterbury Bulldogs and former Ipswich halfback Craig Polla-Mounter with club great Terry Lamb.

A cold beer with . . . former IGS Bulldogs star

IN the later 1980's, the rumour became a roar that Ipswich was home to a schoolboy superstar. Craig Polla-Mounter was sitting in the Fox Boarding Tower at IGS dreaming of Bulldogs and he got to play 192 games and three grand finals for the Blue and Whites. We sat down belted out a war cry and talked footy.

I used to love watching you play Craig. Dad would take me up to IGS to watch the First XV and you were the superstar. Do you have good memories of IGS?

Yeah I do, I was a boarder and it was a big transition from the Sunshine Coast to border in Ipswich but it was a great time.

Now they get to go home all the time but then you were lucky if you got two trips home a year. How did you end up in Ipswich? I was in the Queensland under-12 league team and a teacher at IGS David St Clair said to me how about you come to IGS for grade eight. It was as simple as that.

You choose to go to the Bulldogs at the end of the Australian Schoolboy tour in 1990. Why the Dogs?

I couldn't sign anything until the end of the Australian Schoolboys tour. Rugby kept saying you have signed with the Dogs and I kept saying I haven't. In the end they had me signing an affidavit that I hadn't signed with Canterbury and I was allowed to tour England at the end of 1990.

You started in Presidents Cup in 1991 but wasn't long until you were in A Grade. What do you remember about those first few games?

I was always confident I could do it. I had been a league kid my whole life and that is all I was ever going to play. I did talk to rugby but it was never too serious a conversation. But it probably came quicker than I thought it would.

Do you see some similarities between yourself and Sam Walker? I haven't seen him play a lot but there are some similarities. The IGS link is obvious. But Sam is from a great league family so he will be fine. The other thing that is obvious to me is that they're so confident now. They're NRL ready at 18. I walked into the Dogs after school I sat in the corner. Talking to Terry Lamb wouldn't even entered my mind but I bet Sam has spoken and joked with Trent Robinson and Cooper Cronk.

Three grand finals at the Bulldogs and a premiership it was a good time. Thoughts? It was a great time. I think we missed the finals once in my 11 years. We kept coming up against great sides, Raiders in 94 and Brisbane in 98. If you line up those two sides they probably had 10 internationals and we had one. I loved my time down there and I wish it was still going to be honest.