David Bourke
David Bourke

A cold beer with . . . Magpie who played with Mal

Michael Nunn

DAVID Bourke was a Souths Magpie, Diehard, and Broncos original in 1988. I sat down with the outside back and talked Mal, Broncos and grand finals against the Jets in a career that did not miss out.

How did you find yourself at Souths Magpies?

I went to high school at Brisbane State High School and I wasn't allowed to play league. Peter Slattery, who went on and played for the Wallabies and I, were Souths Woodridge juniors.

When I finished high school, I went down to Souths Magpies and Wayne Bennett was there in his role as head of junior development. He would come back from Brothers and had a different role until he took the coaching back in 1984 when Bob McCarthy left Souths.

David Bourke
David Bourke

Is the 1985 grand final still the highlight?

We had a confidence about the club that year. The disappointment of getting beaten 42-8 the year before was still raw for us. Bennett made changes to the pack and brought in Norm Carr and Chris Phelan who are two handy additions.

I made my First Grade debut that year against Redcliffe at Dolphins, Gary Belcher was out injured and Mal Meninga was not back yet from St.Helens.

Going to Redcliffe and getting the win against their star-studded team was unbelievable at only 19 years old.

Souths qualified for all four grand finals that year and I qualified for all four games. But Mal had a sore knee and Bennett was concerned he would not get through the match so I was fresh reserve in First Grade and Mal got through the game so I did not see any game time.

You had a front row seat to Mal Meninga. What is your highlight?

It is easy just to watch Mal; his core strength was just phenomenal. I remember a day against Dolphins he was terrorising them. I was marking John Ribot but Mal terrorised him and I do not think Ribot would have too many great memories of the day. I was on the wing outside Mal and he was brutal that day.

Can you remember signing your Broncos deal in 1987?

Yeah I got the very last spot. Wayne Bennett rang me in 1987 and said he was coming back from Canberra and they had one last spot in the squad of 51 and I was it. I signed for $5000 at Red Hill with John Ribot and Wayne there.

Your debut for Broncos must also be a major moment?

I played a midweek Panasonic Cup game against Penrith but my run on NRL debut was against the Bears at North Sydney.

North Sydney Oval was beautiful, it was a great time.

At the end of 1988, Bennett said there was no spot for me and he could get me a start at Gold Coast or Wests Magpies but I just said I would go back to Valleys.

In the 1989 grand final, Valleys just too good?

It was such a great side. Valleys had won the year before against Ipswich and then to come into that side and win back-to-back premierships was tremendous.

Ipswich were a great side. Ross Williams, Brett Kaartz, Craig Spark all fantastic players.