Sport When Tommy Raudonikis cornered Jeff Fenech
Rugby league great Raudonikis dies, age 70
Rugby league great Tommy Raudonikis, who entered State of Origin folklore when he introduced the "cattle dog" call in 1997, has died age 70.One of the game's great characters, Raudonikis lost his long battle with cancer on Wednesday.
Jeff Fenech never planned on becoming a boxer. Growing up in Sydney in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Fenech was a livewire hooker who
Despite tackling everything that moved as a promising age-group player, he says he didn’t have the growth spurt that would have allowed him to continue in the senior ranks.
The Marrickville Mauler went on to become one of Australia’s best ever boxers, but to this day, says
So it was a dream come true when the great Tommy Raudonikis,, worked his corner for an exhibition bout 1989.
Tommy Raudonikis to be honoured at SCG memorial service
Rugby league great Tommy Raudonikis will be remembered at a memorial service at the SCG on Monday after his death last week.The former Australian halfback died on April 7 in a Gold Coast hospital after a long battle with cancer, six days short of his 71st birthday.
The exhibition – which was more of a hard spar against Dale Artango – took place on a Jeff Harding undercard in October that year, a month before WBC featherweight world champion Fenech fought Mario Martinez in Melbourne.
A solidly built lightweight, Artango was making a comeback to the ring two years after a defeat to Lester Ellis, and although they both wore headgear, neither held back on attack.
“It was an exhibition, but I wanted to belt the bloke because Dale Artango was much bigger and was trying to give it to me,” Fenech tells Sporting News.
“Tommy was in my corner yelling ‘keep giving it to him, keep giving it to him!’
“It was amazing, just walking back and seeing Tommy in my corner, it was like a dream come true.
“All I wanted to ever do was become a rugby league player, so having one of the toughest and greatest rugby league players ever there, and to just go back and talk between rounds was great.”
How Footy Show revealed Tommy's true home
Despite the merger of Balmain and Wests in 2000, the Magpies remained the legendary halfback's true love.The rugby league legend, who died just days short of his 71st birthday, had plenty to do with the new joint-venture club after 2000, but it was his beloved Magpies, who have continued on in the lower grades for the past two decades, that remained his true love in the game.
A mainstay at Fenech’s fights throughout the 1980s, Raudonikis even had a tilt at promoting his own boxing event at the Sydney Opera House in April 1982.
It was the first time the Opera House had ever hosted boxing, and the main event saw Ken Salisbury fight Alex Temelkov for the Australian super welterweight title, with colourful Sydney identity and former boxerrefereeing.
The fight descended into mayhem when Temelkov landed a series of illegal punches to the back of Salisbury’s head in the eighth round.
Salisbury’s trainer, Bernie Hall, jumped onto the ring apron and grabbed Temelkov by the hair. In response, Temelkov’s cornerman sprinted across the ring and launched a karate kick at Hall.
It was all on.
About 20 people stormed the ring as referee Ramon and various members of Temelkov’s corner went at it, before Raudonikis jumped in and attempted to calm the situation.
League legend Tommy Raudonikis dead at 70
Rugby league great Tommy Raudonikis has died at age 70 after a long battle with cancer. © Getty Tommy Raudonikis in 2018. The former Western Suburbs, Newtown, NSW and Australia star was one of the game's most colourful characters. He was just days short of his 71st birthday. His loss is being mourned by fellow players, his former clubs and the NRL.Raudonikis captained NSW in 1980's inaugural State of Origin game and also went on to coach the Blues, giving birth to the infamous 'Cattledog' call; urging his players to start a fight with Queensland.
“I was with Tommy that night, it was crazy, just crazy. Wild,” Fenech says.
“Charkey Ramon was belting Temelkov’s brother, Bernie Hall was up there and there was a karate kick across the ring.
“There were people getting thrown from the balcony, and Tommy was in there screaming and swearing and stamping his feet, going crazy.”
Raudonikis was decent on the pads and heavy bag when he trained with Fenech and Johnny Lewis and Newtown PCYC, and never took a backwards step on the footy field, but he wasn’t about to throw hands that night.
“He wasn’t scared of anybody, and there was no one in the world who wanted to win as much as Tommy – it was crazy – but he was a bit out of his category that night,” Fenech says.
“I was with him – Tommy was my idol – but that moment maybe proved just how smart he was. He wasn’t about to fight the fighters.
“Yeah, that was the first and last time they had boxing at the Opera House.”
For Fenech, the moment perfectly captures the spirit of Tommy Raudonikis.
“He was a larrikin who was the most loyal guy in the world,” Fenech says.
“If it was black, it was black and he'd tell you. In this era, where we’re not supposed to say anything, he’d just say what he wants. He’s not trying to harm anyone, he’s just saying it how it is.
“All the fame and fortune meant nothing to him, he was one of those guys who was always just Tommy.”
'We quit on kids too early': Phil Gould reveals incredible story of Tom Eisenhuth as welcome reminder to NRL clubs .
'We quit on kids too early' - that's the message from Phil Gould to clubs across the NRL, using the example of Storm forward Tom Eisenhuth to prove his point.That's the message from Phil Gould to clubs across the NRL, with debate over injury tolls and development of younger players in the news at the moment.