Souths rugby league great Mick Reardon playing against Easts.
Souths rugby league great Mick Reardon playing against Easts.

A cold beer with . . . the somersaulting try scorer

By Michael Nunn

GRAND finals live with you. As a fan, they can make you smile or frown for the rest of your life.

It's the 1981 grand final between the Magpies and Dolphins and the clock is ticking down. One minute to go and Souths are behind the Dolphins 9-8. It's the last tackle of the game and it is looking like Arthur Beetson will get his much-converted Redcliffe premiership.

Enter Chris Phelan, Mal Meninga and Mick Reardon. A somersaulting Reardon scores in the corner and Souths win 13-9 in a famous decider.

I sat down with Souths grand final hero Mick Reardon and talked about the great ending to a grand final.

How many beers do you think Souths fans have brought you?

I am recognised every now and then. I will say Mick Reardon and they will look at me and then ask if I am that Mick Reardon. I certainly do not introduce myself as that and never would but it is nice when BRL fans talk about it. We have a BRLOB-BRL Old Boys reunion the first Friday every month. Any BRL player can come and we meet at different surf club and have a beer. We get all sorts of players. It is a great day every month.

Souths winger Mick Reardon douses himself in champagne after scoring the matchwinning try 30 seconds from full-time in 1981.
Souths winger Mick Reardon douses himself in champagne after scoring the matchwinning try 30 seconds from full-time in 1981.

I have some Dolphins mates that still say you ruined their life?

Arthur took a long while to talk to me. The reaction of Dolphins fans is certainly different to Souths fans. I catch up with a few of those Dolphins players and we all get on.

What are your memories of the try?

We were in the middle of the field and I thought we were going to kick a field goal and I remember Chris Phelan screaming for it. He knew something was on and I was outside Mal so you just stay outside Mal and wait for the opportunity.

After the Magpies lost in 1979 and 1980, how important was it to win?

It was very important to Souths. I played Reserve Grade in 1980 and we beat Brothers. In 1981, I played the whole year in first grade and winning a competition with Souths was just unbelievable. We did not have any injuries that year, just a smooth year and Bob McCarthy was great, very funny man and great to work with that year. We did not use any reserve in the grand final. It was the same 13 from start to finish.

What is it like being a winger outside Mal?

He is the most unselfish centre I ever played with. So many tries he could have scored himself. He was so strong but he would just pass it off to me and make me look much better than I was. Playing outside Mal was tremendous.