Wally Lewis (1)

I’ve spoken to the game’s greatest-ever player, Wally Lewis, on a handful of occasions. This lengthy feature was part of Rugby League World’s ‘Big Interview’ series in 2008.

Known as The King, or The Emperor of Lang Park, Walter James Lewis is the greatest Rugby League player of all time.
Well, that’s the opinion of everyone in Queensland. South of the border, they might protest with the names of Clive Churchill, Johnny Raper or Andrew Johns.
He is one of Australia’s seven Rugby League Immortals – the others being Churchill, Reg Gasnier, Raper, Bob Fulton, Clive Churchill and Arthur Beetson.
He dominated – in fact, he made – State of Origin for 12 years, winning eight official man of the match awards – easily a record. He was and still is, idolised in Queensland, hated in New South Wales. When he retired from Origin in 1991 his state had won nine of the first 12 series. After his retirement, they lost three in a row.
Visitors to Lang Park, now Suncorp Stadium, see his statue in a pose holding aloft the Origin shield. Origin was his stage but he also captained Australia for most of the 1980s and was Brisbane Broncos’ inaugural captain in 1988, before the title was sensationally stripped from him by Wayne Bennett after just two seasons. He also enjoyed a brief but memorable spell at Wakefield Trinity in the 1983/84 season.
Like most sporting icons he was never far from controversy, dominating front pages as well as back. In 1984, Sydneysiders booed him as he captained Australia against Great Britain, such was their contempt for the man who had continually thwarted their team in Origin football. In 1988 an Origin match was halted as beer cans rained onto the pitch as fans protested against his sin-binning. in 1990 it almost became a national scandal when he was excluded on the flimsiest of medical grounds from the 1990 Kangaroo Tour, a decision which still cuts deep with the champion five-eighth today.
Recent headlines, however, have concerned his health. Lewis, a newsreader for Channel Nine in Brisbane, twice suffered epileptic seizures live on air and he subsequently elected to have a brain operation a year ago.
“I’m pretty good at the moment,” he told me.
“Obviously it wasn’t the best period of my life. It pretty disturbing at times. I had to go one way or the other but I was sick of the constant concern and fear that I was going to have another turn at the wrong time.
“I’d had two seizures reading the 6pm bulletin on Channel Nine in Brisbane and I just thought that that was enough. You can’t make it any more obvious that you’re suffering than if that happens to you live on television because you’re promoting the fact to hundreds of thousands of people.
“I don’t get a green light until the two-year mark but things have progressed pretty comfortably. I’m about a year into it but I’m not going to convince myself that I’ve beaten it until I get to the two-year mark.
“I’m still in the (epileptic) club but I won’t be suffering any seizures. I’ll still be on the medication for a few years. One thing that worries me is what happened at the hospital in Melbourne when a woman asked me if I’d speak to her son.
“He was 17 and he’d got to a week short of the two-year mark and he’d had a massive fit. So it was back to the drawing board for him and it certainly wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I thought, ‘shit, I can get all that way only for it to be a waste of time and back to the drawing board.”
A major concern after his operation was the news that he was suffering memory problems. The thought that he might not be able to remember some of his wonderful career highlights was a big worry for his army of fans but he allayed that particular fear.
“The memory difficulties I’m having are starting to ease a little bit. But they’re generally short-term things so I can remember most of my playing career.
“One of the doctors involved in the surgery was a Queenslander and he suggested locking myself in a room for a few months watching old games, so I did. It was great to see them again and I found myself sitting there criticising my performances!”
As I spoke to Lewis about his career, it was clear that his memory, as far as his playing career was concerned, is fine. He talked freely about his days as an Australian rugby union schoolboys player touring the UK in 1977 but that, ultimately, Rugby League was always going to be the game he pursued in adulthood.
“It was always going to be League. From the time I was born, I was always going to play Rugby League. My dad had played and coached and my mum’s brother represented Brisbane. There was no way I wasn’t going to play Rugby League.
“In union, I played with the famous Ella brothers and Michael O’Connor but even if there had been any doubt that I’d play League, one particular fella made up my mind before a union game I was due to play in.
“He said he didn’t want this League player to ‘soil the turf of Ballymore’! That snotty-nosed bloke made my decision for me. I went and signed my professional contract with Valleys League club.
“I was happy at Valleys and I enjoyed my introduction to the professional game. I got on with the coach Ross Strudwick. He didn’t hold me back and told me to try whatever I wanted to do out there. There were no restrictions placed on players back then. I owed Ross a lot because he recognised that I had something.”

State of Origin
Lewis’s talents were quickly recognised by the Queensland Rugby League fraternity but the moment that was to shape his career arrived in 1980 when State of Origin was born.
Until then the annual best-of-three Interstate series was a poorly-contested, poorly-supported, dying competition. The talented Queenslanders who had ventured south to play in the Sydney competition, under the Interstate rules, represented New South Wales and Queensland were duly hammered nearly every time. In fact, Queensland won only one of the last 32 matches played under the old Interstate rules.
Under State of Origin rules, the Sydney-based Queenslanders like the great Arthur Beetson pulled on the Maroon jersey once again and it presented Lewis and other young Queenslanders like Mal Meninga the opportunity to be recognised by the national team selectors while playing their club football north of the border.
“Yes, that’s exactly how it was with Australian selection,” said Lewis.
“Until that stage, if you played in Brisbane you weren’t given much of a chance to play for Australia. When we beat New South Wales in 1980, they still didn’t give us much credit but then we beat them in 1981 without Arthur and then in 1982 we beat them in the first three-game series. Then we did it again in 1983 and 1984, giving us five straight Origin series wins.
“(QRL chief) Ron McAulliffe did a great job in ensuring that the leading Queenslanders stayed in Queensland.”
Lewis’s Origin success led to him being named vice-captain for the 1982 Kangaroo Tour to the northern hemisphere but, controversially, he was left out of the starting line-up for the Ashes Tests and coach Frank Stanton paired together the in-form Parramatta Grand Final-winning duo Peter Sterling and Brett Kenny in the halves.
The Australians swept all before them, annihilating Great Britain and returning home unbeaten; the first touring side to accomplish that feat.
“I went away as vice-captain of the side,” said Lewis. “To sit on the bench for the Tests was a great disappointment but I was still proud to be involved with a great tour.
“I’ve no doubt whatsoever that there was a plan of what that team was going to be for the first Test and even if I’d scored 47 tries the week before, I wasn’t going to be in that first Test team. I wasn’t the favourite friend of the coach Frank Stanton and he’s made it clear since then who his favourite players of the last 25 years have been.”
Typically, Lewis still provided one of the tour’s highlights – and one of international Rugby League’s most famous tries – when he threw an incredible 25-metre pass for Meninga to score.
“I was pretty shitty about missing out but my roommate Steve Mortimer was also getting the bullet. I decided to play my best football in the club matches and I came off the bench in the second Test and threw a pretty long pass for Mal Meninga to score. I remember walking past Frank Stanton on the bench and let him know what I thought of him.
“I loved the crowds over there and the people. I had a great time and it led to me moving to Wakefield Trinity in 1983.”

Wally Lewis is Coming
Does Lewis remember much about his brief spell in West Yorkshire?
“Yeah I do. I’d toured with the Queensland team in 1983 and it was a fantastic tour. It led to Wakefield making me an offer of £150 per game, which I rejected at first. I wasn’t too keen on playing in England because I’d played so much back-to-back footy. The offers kept coming and I kept rejecting them.
“In the end, I thought the only way to get rid of them was to suggest a huge amount so I gave them a figure and to my amazement they agreed to it.
“So I went over. It wasn’t the friendliest of welcomes for me because the Wakefield players had heard what I was earning. The only friendly blokes at first were the coach Derek Turner and Brian Briggs, who I as staying with as well as Barry Hough, the benefactor who was paying my wages.
“The captain Nigel Stephenson shook hands with me but not too many others did and that carried on for a while because they thought the club were paying me a massive amount of money. In the end, I told them that I’d had a gutful of them and that the club weren’t paying me one cent, which was true because Barry Hough was putting up the money.
“After that, things got better. Barry told me they wanted to avoid relegation but we won five out of the ten when I was there and we should have won another two.
“I made my debut against Hull, who Peter Sterling was playing for. We played well but lost after we faded away in the second half.”
Lewis also confirmed the truth in the anecdote of the player who spent a match taunting him over the size of his pay packet.
“He kept saying, after hitting me, ‘how are you feeling thousand-pounds-a-match-man?’
“It went on and on. Late on, he got me across the nose and said it again so I said, ‘about £900 pounds better off than you, you pommy bastard’.
“Again, it introduced me to the wonderful English supporters. Australia can claim success in some departments but we can never equal the wonderful support that English people provide for their teams. English supporters are amazing.”

Kangaroo captain
With Interstate rivalry reaching fever pitch, Lewis, unfortunately, experienced the other side of the Rugby League supporter when, in 1984, he was booed as he was introduced to the Sydney Cricket Ground as the captain of Australia, for the Ashes series against Great Britain.
“It was the most disappointing day in my representative career,” he reflects.
“The fans in Sydney provided a more generous welcome for the British team than they did for their own captain. When I was introduced to the crowd, there were huge boos. It wasn’t the greatest way to celebrate being captain and I was filthy about it. That was my association with Sydney Rugby League people unfortunately.”
But, despite his sour memories of Sydney that year, his performances in 1984 were of the highest order. He enjoyed his best year by that time and picked up the inaugural Golden Boot the following year for his ’84 performances.
“It was the greatest honour that I had in Rugby League,” he said of the Golden Boot.
“It was bewildering to receive an award like that, that put you ahead of all other players. The Sydney press were a bit unfair about it, claiming that there were better players in their competition but that just typified the relationship that I had with them.
“But it meant so much to me and my family.”
After the 3-0 whitewash of Great Britain in 1984 on Australian soil, Lewis retained the national captaincy for the Kangaroo tour in 1986.
Eager to make amends for his disappointments on the tour four years earlier, he was in magnificent form throughout the tour. Once again, they returned home unbeaten, largely thanks to the captain whose wonderful solo try in the third Test at Wigan sealed a match that Britain had threatened to win.
“To be honest, that third Test was a disappointing game,” said Lewis. “Some of our players didn’t quite have the right attitude but I knew that, for me to prove a point at least, we had to go through the tour unbeaten, as we did in 1982.
“The evening before, a few of the guys were up a little while longer than they should have been and they were celebrating the fact that Mal Meninga’s wife had just had a baby.
“So our preparation wasn’t perfect and the English played superbly.”
So, which English player caused Lewis and his teammates the most problems?
“A certain little halfback! That little bastard! I admired Andy Gregory as much, if not more, than any other player because of the creativity that he boasted and the determination to cause defeat for Australia. He was also one of the toughest players that I ever played against.
“I also got on with Andy very well off the field, and with his mother too. I struggled with his accent, always telling him to slow down! With him in charge and at his best, they got as close as they could to beating us.
“His performance in that third game was a big problem for us but, even so, it was a performance to be admired. We were lucky to get out of jail that day.
“There were other great players too in the British side. In the first Test at Manchester, Joe Lydon displayed some wonderful creativity and scored a superb try down the left touchline. Our fullback was Garry Jack, one of the greatest fullbacks I ever saw. He showed Joe the sideline but Joe did an in-and-away and scored an amazing try.
“Garry Schofield was up there too; a wonderful bloke Garry. He’s one of the real gentlemen of the game, a terrific guy. The only time I didn’t like him was when he was playing well on the field – he was a pain in the arse then. The approach he had to Rugby League was outstanding.
“Ellery Hanley got a lot of the credits which, overall, he probably deserved but, in the international matches, he never got to show too much because we used to look out for him pretty heavily. He was a one side of the field runner who always carried the ball in his right hand but he had a marvellous fend; arguably the greatest fend ever seen in Rugby League. So we used to slide the defence over as soon as the pass was thrown to him and we always had two blokes on him with the first man going straight into the ball from the right-hand side. That reduced his opportunities and we always did well against him.
“We knew what he did for Wigan but there wasn’t a game against us when he was the same player. We reduced him by at least 50%.”

Signing for Kerry Packer
Throughout his career, Lewis was used to courting interest from the cashed-up Sydney clubs and reveals that he actually signed for Manly in 1986 only for the deal to fall through in unusual circumstances.
“Manly tried to get me and Gene Miles at the end of the 1987 season.
“They were doing very well and were very well off. The team that I played for in Queensland went broke at the end of 1985 and couldn’t pay the players. One of our players actually suicided because he wasn’t being paid.
“Geno and I received an offer from Kerry Packer and went down to meet him. He was very direct asking us what we wanted. We told him that he should make us an offer but he wasn’t having that.
“He sent Gene out of the room and I asked him for $150,000AUS. We’d only been planning to ask for $70,000AUS but it just came out of my mouth. I couldn’t believe I’d had the cheek to ask for so much. He looked at me and laughed but I told him it was his decision. He called me a smart-arse but agreed to the figure after telling me he liked my style!
“He sent me out and I tried to whisper to Geno as I walked past him what I’d got but he didn’t hear. When I got back in, I could see him almost giggling – he’d got $135,000.
“We had to sign it in two stages. The first $75,000AUS each was to play football for Manly. The rest of our salaries was to work for Packer. That proved to be the problem although we didn’t see it at the time.
“The QRL had the chance to match the deal and if they did they kept us – that was always the agreement. On our way up north, we heard on the radio that we were staying in Queensland! We couldn’t believe it. We thought we’d be getting that money to stay at home. We raced into the QRL and they put the contracts down. I almost signed mine without reading it. All they had to do was match the Sydney deal so I assumed it would be for £150,000AUS but it wasn’t. It was for $75,000AUS.
“Of course, the problem was that our deals with Manly had been in two parts and the QRL had only had to match our playing contract and the separate work we’d agreed to do for Packer was ignored. Only Ron McAuliffe could have come up with that. We protested and got a bit more money but still way less than if we’d gone to Manly.”

Birth of the Broncos
“Although it was disappointing to miss out on the Manly move, the Broncos were formed soon after and we got our chance to play in the best competition in the world. That’s what we were really after. It was a bonus that we could do that from Brisbane and not move to Sydney.”
However, with a team stuffed with State of Origin superstars, the Broncos proved to be a long way short of Premiership material, despite thumping champions Manly in the first round. Were expectations too high?
“Probably. We did quite well to start with but Wayne (Bennett) had a very long-term outlook which a couple of us didn’t agree with.
“He wanted to introduce a style of football with no mistakes and with two-thirds of a State of Origin side, I thought it was wrong to restrict us. Gene and I would gamble a bit but, overall, I didn’t understand his tactics. But it was his call.”
After two seasons, Bennett delivered a bombshell, which stunned the Australian public. The King was back on the front pages.
“At the end of the second season, he took the captaincy off me which was ridiculous.”
In The Emperor – Wally Lewis, his biographer Adrian McGregor tells the story of an end of season meeting between captain and coach of the Broncos in 1989.
“Never a man to delay the truth – to spare his own feelings or others – Bennett’s first words to Wally after they both sat down were, “I’m taking the captaincy off you.” At first Wally didn’t understand. Was Bennett serious? Was he joking? He wasn’t a bloke who joked around. Wally got that sick feeling of galvanised apprehension – fight or flight. For 15 seconds of eerie silence Bennett gazed at him. Wally had not spoken. “I suppose you’d like to know why?” said Bennett.”
“He said it was wrong for me not to be available for all matches because of my State of Origin commitments,” Lewis told me. “The reasons were ridiculous.
“I think he planned to give Greg Dowling the captaincy but Greg wasn’t interested. Other than him, there were only a couple of players who didn’t play Origin.
“What happened in the end was that he approached Gene Miles who was playing for Queensland and Australia at the time and got him to retire from representative football. Me and Gene were best mates and that put the knife in the back of our friendship. We’d only spoken about it the day before and he was sympathising with whoever would get it.
“My friendship with Gene never really recovered and Wayne had effectively shifted the blame for the club not getting to the semi-finals from him to me.
“The next year was not a comfortable one – it was a disaster actually. He told me soon into that season that he wanted to bring Kevvie Walters into five-eighth and put me at lock. There was some public outrage about that too.”
It is clear that Lewis is not Bennett’s biggest fan. Lewis and I spoke before Bennett announced that 2008 would be his last in charge of the Broncos.
“There’s a fair bit of discontent in Brisbane right now with him and his association with the Broncos is not a friendly one. He tried to do the deal with the Roosters in 2006 and he was exposed in that political thing, getting hundreds of thousands of dollars given to him as gifts. That upset a lot of former players who he had asked to sign for the Broncos for less money than they could get elsewhere.
“Wayne’s not the most trusted person here anymore and that’s very sad.”
A year later, Lewis was involved in another huge story. He was ruled out of the 1990 Kangaroo Tour, after failing a stringent medical to test his arm, which he had broken earlier in the season. However, Lewis had figured as a substitute in the Broncos’ last match of the season and there was a lengthy gap before he would have played again on tour.
“It was ludicrous, absolutely ludicrous,” fumed Lewis. “I’d come back and already played a game the previous week. I’d been passed by a major surgeon to play for Brisbane in the semi-finals but they wanted me to have this medical.
“I was ruled out of the tour – unfit after I’d already played a game! Ridiculous. That’s the thing I feel the most filthy about. That’s the most disgraceful thing I ever had to deal with in football.
“I’d have been the first bloke to captain two Kangaroo tours. Mal went on to do that in 1994.”
Fittingly, Lewis did get the farewell from the representative stage that he deserved. It didn’t come in the green and gold – the last of his 33 Test matches was a defeat to New Zealand. It came in the 1991 State of Origin series as he led his side to a nailbiting 2-1 win in possibly the most exciting series ever.
Lewis was by now a Gold Coast Seagulls player. He pulled down the curtain on an extraordinary career on 26 August 1992, in typically dramatic circumstances, scoring a late winning try in a narrow win over champions Penrith.

box out 1
The Emperor of Belle Vue

MARTYN SADLER, the editor of League Express, remembers the impact of WALLY LEWIS when he played ten games for Wakefield Trinity in the 1983/4 season.

The three greatest players I have ever seen play Rugby League were Neil Fox, Wally Lewis and Andrew Johns.
And it’s no coincidence that two out of the three played for Wakefield Trinity.
Wally, who marginally shades it as the greatest of the three, only played ten games from December 1983 to February 1984, but what games they were! I remember them now as though they had taken place last season.
As League Express readers will know, when I was a kid growing up my heroes were at Belle Vue. By the time the Emperor of Lang Park arrived in Wakefield, I had outgrown my childhood fantasies of turning out in the red, white and blue. But briefly, for me and many other Wakefield supporters, those fantasies were rekindled as we watched the maestro at work.
It began against Hull, when Wally made his debut in front of 8,179 spectators, more than twice that season’s Wakefield average, against Hull, who themselves were giving a debut to another Aussie legend, former Rugby League World columnist Peter Sterling.
Wally had brought his younger brother Scott to play with him at Belle Vue, and with his first touch of the ball Wally made a break and fed Scott, who dashed down the left wing to score the opening try of the game. At that moment we knew that we were in for some thrills.
Even with Wally in the team, however, Wakefield couldn’t prevent the Airlie Birds from walking away with a 32-16 victory, and unfortunately that would be the story in half the games Wally would play.
Another memorable game was against Oldham, when Wally was poleaxed early in the game by a high tackle from the Roughyeds’ fullback Nick Wright. Wally was carried off unconscious, Wright was booed so loudly that you can probably still hear the echoes around the ground 24 years later, and we all wondered whether our hero’s stint with Wakefield could have ended after three games. But then, in the second half, Wally returned to the field, wearing what looked like an enormous turban on his head, and he played as though nothing had happened.
His fourth game was at Castleford on Boxing Day morning, and legend has it that Wally arrived breathless and a little intoxicated from an all-night party in Hull on Christmas Day. Wakefield coach Derek Turner had been cursing Wally in the dressing-room before the game, and had already given Wally’s number six shirt to a young replacement. But the King arrived just in time, grabbed the shirt, and sweated off the beer with a faultless performance. Raymond Fletcher, writing in the Yorkshire Post the next day, revealed that Wally had taken something like 57 passes, but was only tackled three times in the entire game, although Castleford still managed to win 24-8, with Wally having some trouble in motivating the other Wakefield players, who were said to be jealous of the amount of dosh he was receiving.
Even so, Wakefield gave one of their best performances of the season in Wally’s sixth game, winning 31-22 at St Helens, with the King scoring a hat-trick of tries.
Perhaps the most memorable game for me was Wally’s last, which was a first-round Challenge Cup-tie at Halifax. Fax were a second-division side, but they had clearly prepared to bash Wally on his last game in England. Every time he got the ball three tacklers grabbed him, and clearly meant to do some damage. So it was strange to see Wally getting up to play the ball, with Fax players continually left writhing in agony on the ground.
I’ll never know what Wally did to them, but it sure worked, as he scored two tries and Trinity went on to win the game 19-7.
And then he was gone, and Wakefield supporters were left with their memories of those amazing ten games. The team fell to bits in the remainder of the season, losing every single one of its remaining nine matches, and falling into the second division the following season.
Was King Wally’s temporary sojourn at Belle Vue really a dream? Somehow it felt like it. The anticlimax of his departure was almost too much to bear. A group of fans started up a fanzine optimistically entitled ‘Wally Lewis is coming’, but unfortunately he never did return, although Wakefield’s fans, even today, would give him a very warm welcome back if he ever did walk out to the middle of the pitch at Belle Vue.

box-out 2 – Wally’s greatest moments – all of the State of Origin

“I’m often asked for the biggest moment of my career. I have three career highlights.
“One of them was that first State of Origin game in 1980. The Interstate competition had become an embarrassment for us. I always trudged away from Lang Park shattered as a kid and I dreamed of turning the tide.
“When they changed it to State of Origin, it meant everything to us and that first night was unbelievable. There were a number of experienced blokes there but a few kids too like Colin Scott at fullback, Chris Close, Mal Meninga and myself. It wasn’t about anything that I did – it was about having the opportunity to stand alongside Arthur Beetson. It was all about Arthur Beetson. The crowd were sensational that night and the joint just went beserk when they announced Arthur’s name. We were introduced to the crowd one by one and I’ve never heard a noise to match the sound of the crowd when Arthur’s name was read out. He was a living legend and it was unbelievable for a young bloke like me to play alongside him. We won that game 20-10.
“Secondly, there’s the game in Sydney in 1989 and scoring that try. You don’t play on things like that, it just happened. I always make sure that when I’m talking about that night that people remember how belted Queensland were with injuries. We’d lost Mal Meninga, Paul Vautin and Allan Langer to broken bones, then Michael Hancock joined them in the second half. We were shot to pieces and doing it tough. Then Trevor Gillmeister smashed Brad Clyde with a thunderous shot in the stomach and up into the rib cage. Clydey made very few errors in a game but he dropped the ball and it was picked up and spun to me. I can’t explain what I did other than you want to go forward and do your best. I beat Chris Mortimer and Laurie Daley and got to Garry Jack, the fullback. He went high and I beat him to score. We went on to win 16-12 and took the series that night. We then beat them 36-16 to complete the whitewash.
“My final moment was after wrapping up the 1991 series – my last in Origin. After the game, I got the opportunity to walk around the ground and thank the Queensland fans who were such a big part of our success. I’d made the decision to retire in the lead up to the game because I’d just found out that day that my daughter was deaf so it was an important decision to make, but an easy one because your family comes first.”

box-out 3
British Legends Remember The King

Andy Gregory and Garry Schofield were happy to return Lewis’s compliments when contacted by Rugby League World.
Lewis singled out Gregory as the best British player he faced.
“It’s such a compliment for a legend like Wally to say something like that about me,” said Gregory.
“He was an unbelievable player and givent that he played behind such an amazing pack and alongside guys like Peter Sterling, Mal Meninga and Gene Miles, it’s no surprise that we never got our hands on the Ashes.
“Wally isn’t just a legend, he’s a great bloke off the field. We’re good mates.
“My biggest battle against him was in the Panasonic Cup final in 1989 when I was playing for Illawarra. They only just sneaked past us with a last minute try by Gene. Then there were all the Test matches; great memories although the magic that he often came up with, in particular that Test in 1986, hurt us at the time.
“He made a huge impact at Wakefield too – so did the news of the grand a week he was earning!”
Lewis also admitted that Schofield, who scored eight tries in Ashes Test matches, was a constant thorn in the Kangaroos’ side.
“What else can you say about the King?” said Schofield.
“He won them that Test match in 1986. I scored two tries that day but Wally got the headlines for that sensational try, even though it might have been on the seventh tackle!
“He wasn’t the quickest of players but he was strong and he scored so many great tries by holding players off.”

box-out 4
Wally can feel a XXXX coming on

Wally appeared in a XXXX television commercial in the 1980s, which can be found on You Tube. Given that it taunted New South Wales and showed video clips of him in his Origin pomp, it was only shown in Queensland.

These were the words to the irritatingly catchy tune:

Here’s to Wally Lewis
For lacing on a boot
Sometimes he plays it rugged
Sometimes he plays it cute
When he’s carving through the backline
Like a stradbroke Island shark
There’s glue on all his fingers
He’s the emperor of Lang Park
And when the blues come up here
To try and make a show
They’ll go back scratching their heads
Saying which way did he go?
The next time he goes over there
to educate the poms
Perhaps he’ll teach a few to sing:
I can feel a fourex coming on
I can feel a fourex coming on
I can feel a fourex coming on.
Got the taste for it
Just can’t wait for it
I can feel a fourex coming on.

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