Popular premiership-winning player Alan Currie
Popular premiership-winning player Alan Currie

A cold beer with . . . Tigers favourite, Medal winner

By Michael Nunn

DOWN at Tigerland, there is a name that brings smiles to faces.

Alan Currie won fans and hearts over the course of his career and gained three grand final wins for the Tigers in 1972, 1977 and 1978.

His career included a Rothman's Medal win in 1977.

I sat down with a Tiger favourite and we chatted about a great career.

How did you end up at the Tigers?

I did not get into league until I was 15. I played AFL at Holland Park but I lived in East Brisbane so my mates were league mad and kept pestering me to play league. I played for Mt Gravatt Eagles and then I did National Service in 1967 and turned 21 in the army in Singleton. So then, I played union in the army. I came back to Wacol and then Enoggera and nearly had a run with Souths and Wests but they did not work out and 1970 I went to Easts.

The Tigers are so special to me. It is such a great club. Recently I was going through a drawer and found this set of cutlery and it was addressed to me from a fan. On awards night every year people would give you presents for playing that year.

I loved the community feel of Brisbane at the time. My daughter is a teacher and she was doing some prac work on the Coast when another teacher saw her name and asked if she was related to Alan Currie. Yep, he is my dad. It was Mr Richie Twist.

Do you have a favourite grand final win?

The 1972 win was good because it we lost in 1971. Then to win with a field goal in the last few seconds was good. Lang Park had 38,000 people that day. They are all special. We had a great team and great men. I am still mates with all my Tiger mates.

You won the Rothmans Medal in 1977. Was that your best year?

Who knows with referees. Hard to know what they are thinking. I was not even going but one night after training I had a strange conversation with Easts board member Arthur Sparks who seemed to be suggesting that I go. I asked after a while would you like me to go and represent the club. Yes, Alan please. So I am not sure if they knew I was going to win. I did not own a suit so the Tigers organised a suit for me. I bought a suit after that and never went to another award night; I still have that suit here.

You moved into the forwards in 1977 from the wing. What did you prefer?

I liked the forwards. You can last forever on the wing and do five runs and two tackles but I moved into the forwards during the Woolies pre-season and it was a bit of a shock. I was struggling. I remember I was walking off at halftime in my first game with John Lang and saying I am gone here Langy, he said you will get your second wind. I pointed out I had that 20 minutes ago.

You played with some Ipswich royalty. Jeff Denman, Des Morris and Rod Morris. Did you have a favourite?

I learnt a lot about wing play from Jeff Denman. Terrific player and person. He was so strong and just dropped his shoulder into the defence and they would bump away from him.

Did you keep your premiership jumpers?

I swapped my jumper with Wally Lewis after the 1978 grand final. We were opposing locks and he was just starting out while I was at the end. Wally's mum gets her car serviced at my nephew Tony Currie's Tyre Power. Mrs Lewis brought my jumper in for my 70th birthday, and said Wally would like Alan to have this back. I have that framed.

Some players intrigue me. I never saw Alan Currie play so I dug a little deeper and found out why Currie was loved by so many fans of Brisbane Rugby League.

Wayne Lindenberg (Premiership teammate in 1977 and 1978): AC was fantastic to play with. He is called 'grass' as in grass cutter with his defence - around the ankles and hard. He was a very important part of our premiership wins. Still a good friend and a fine golfer.

Rod Morris (Premiership teammate in 1972, 1977 and 1978): Alan was an outstanding team player for the Tigers, hardworking forward extremely reliable and would play at his best every game.

John Lang (Premiership Team mate in 1972, 1977 and 1978): Al was a great team and big game player. Played on the wing in 1972 then lock in 77 and 78 in our three premiership teams. He pulled off one of the most memorable tackles in my life in football to sprint best part of 50 metres to nail Vic Tighe in Redcliffe's in-goal with a less than 10 minutes to go in 77 grand final. That was one of many great tackles he made. He did everything flat out and always gave 100 per cent. We all loved playing alongside him.