Former Broncos Joe Kilroy tries to fend off Knights' Steve Fulmer during the 1988 match against Newcastle. Picture: News Corp file
Former Broncos Joe Kilroy tries to fend off Knights' Steve Fulmer during the 1988 match against Newcastle. Picture: News Corp file

A cold beer with . . . ‘Smokin’ Joe Kilroy

IT'S 1980 and every kid wants a moustache and to be called Smokin'. Joe Kilroy was a star for Norths and Brothers, blazing to glory in the 1980 grand final against Souths Magpies. It would be Kilroy's run that would live long in the memories of Brisbane Rugby League fans. Joe reflects on his career.

It's the grand final, 32,000 fans at Lang Park, Souths raging favourites, you've lost to them three times in the season and the Magpies are in all three grades. Forty-one minutes in, you field the kick from Mal Meninga and run 50 metres beating five defenders and putting Brian Dunn over for a try. How many times have you been asked about that run? It's probably not as often as you think. I was only young so I just ran and it opened up. I think I did better runs and scored better tries but being in a grand final always makes things special.

Is it true that Bob Bax pulled some trickery in the lead up to the game? Yeah. That was an old Bax special. Pull "Souths tip sheet" out at training and read it out bagging us. Of course everyone is slow and old and not much chop and the guys get fired up. I was only 20 and fearless so I wasn't too worried what Souths thought of me.

You had some trips to Ipswich when you were playing for Norths and Brothers. Any memories that stand out? I was always wary of Pat Shepherdson because I had played with him at Brothers. He was a very good player. Ipswich had tough players, maybe not the skill of other teams, but in those two years in 1986 and 1987, they were very tough to play against.

In 1987, it was the last BRL Grand Final before the Broncos and you're scoring again. Which premiership win is your favourite? 1987 was my favourite. We worked so hard and our defence was just outstanding. To lose the year before in 1986 and then win in 1987 was tremendous.

Do you have a favourite Ipswich player? I would say Hugh O'Doherty. I met him years later and he was a nice bloke. It's nice to not be disappointed when you meet people.

As FOG 55, you played two games for Queensland. Why did it take eight years for you to play for Queensland? I would have loved to play more representative football but the selectors never seemed to pick me. Bob Bax used to tell me the difference between being in a rep side and not being in is three opinions. Unfortunately the three selectors are the only opinions that count.