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Miracle Man ? Two days in plaster Redcliffe?s representative centre Steve Cherry, back in first grade for the opening round of the Winfield Cup after just eleven weeks on the sideline, had his broken arm in plaster for just two days. Dolphin coach, John Barber, revealed this week after fracturing his arm in the third-round Woolies match against Wests.
Barber was scoffing at suggestions that Redcliffe were rushing centres Cherry and Mitch Brennan back into first grade. Brennan has been out for four weeks with a broken hand. ?Apart from the fact they are the best centres in the club, both are fit,? Barber said. ?I couldn?t imagine Souths bringing Mal Meninga back in reserve grade, or Gene Miles coming back through the grades at Wynnum. Why is it so unusual for Redcliffe?
Barber said Cherry had a plate inserted in his arm two days after it was broken and merely had it wrapped in gauze for the following fortnight. From then on he had been training. In fact for the last two weeks he has been doing more than most of the squad, including tackling practice.
After a disappointing showing in both the Woolies and the State League, Redcliffe face the crunch in the Winfield Cup. But Barber says the Dolphins will make the four. ?I know we are a better side than four others in Brisbane,? he said. ?I f we beat them twice ? as we should ? we?ll finish with eight wins. We made the semis last year with seven wins, and I think nine this year will make us a certainty, so we?ll be there.?
Barber said it had been difficult to motivate his players after they had lost their first State League match. ?We knew we couldn?t make the finals from there, so what was the point,? he said. ?Of course winning is important ? in fact it?s everything ? but I don?t prescribe to the theory of motivating them. That?s lying, and I don?t like that.?
Barber also asked critics to get off the back of prop Paul Khan. ?Khany didn?t play well in the State League and probably deserved the bagging he got. But give him a go, because I also think he deserves that.? Redcliffe meet Easts this Sunday, the side beaten by Valleys in last Sunday?s State League final.
This article is from Rugby League Week
Steve Cherry, Ripe for the picking Redcliffe?s Steve Cherry would love nothing better than to tell Arthur Beetson where he?d like to play. But the chunky utility player is a realist. He knows that playing first grade is the important thing and he?s willing to play anywhere Beetson wants him to. Cherry is a fierce defender ? probably the toughest for his size in the Brisbane competition. And his job as a driver for Carlton United Breweries is certainly a big asset. ?I suppose that throwing kegs around during the week comes in handy as tackling practice for the weekends? he said. But Cherry has proved in his four years of first grade he doesn?t need practice. He has that in-built fierceness that makes him a deadly defender.
And it?s the desire of Cherry?s to become involved in the tough work around the middle of the rucks that makes him think he?s better suited to either lock or five-eighth, rather than centre where he is playing now. ? I think my game is more suited to lock,? Cherry said. ? I like tackling that?s where the action is. ? But Arthur wants me to play centre at the moment and that?s where I?ll play.? Cherry was seen as a potential lock forward when the current Australian coach Frank Stanton, was at Redcliffe in 1980. Stanton had Cherry at lock for a number of matches before necessity forced him to move the tackling-machine to five-eighth.
And it?s really been a fill-in role that Cherry has adopted during his five seasons with the Dolphins. He feels that his move to the centres at the latter stage of last season was tainted with a certain amount of Redcliffe tradition. Over the years Redcliffe have opted for the chunky type of centre -?Tony Obst and Chris Close, to name just two. Cherry certainly fills the bill well, at just under 89kg (14 stone) and standing only 175cms (5ft 9ins).
And although he realises it?s only early days yet, he is hoping Redcliffe will settle on a regular five-eighth and centre pairing before too much longer. Already they?ve used David Brown, Louta Atoi and Trevor Benson as Cherry?s centre partner, while Benson, Steve Bleakley and Willie Atkins have all been tried at five-eighth. But Beetson, like many of the Brisbane coaches, has been using the Woolies pre-season competition literally as a trial period. And players like Cherry looking for a steady partner may have suffered because of this. ?Arthur knows what he?s doing, and I?m satisfied that what is happening at the moment is best for the club,? Cherry said.
Steve Cherry is keen to have another crack at the representative scene. And like the position at Redcliffe, he?d play anywhere in a representative side. But he hopes if he is given another chance, it won?t be anything like his debut, against Easts in a Tooth Cup game in 1980. Cherry had a shocker. Everything he tried backfired and he was eventually replaced.
But if nothing Cherry, Steve Cherry is a realist. And he?s a tough competitor. Given the chance anywhere, at any time, he?ll give his best. Maybe it?s that Roma grounding, and the tuition from another Roma ?old boy?, Artie Beetson.
This article is from Rugby League Week March 11, 1982.
Steve Cherry played 195 first grade games for the Redcliffe Dolphins between 1978 and 1992. He represented Brisbane in the old Amco and Tooth Cup mid week series.