AN INTERVIEW WITH AUSSIE
Bobby Griffin #10 & #25, Tigers Premiership Player Who ‘Can’t Watch’ Football
Presented by Tiger champion, Tony 'Aussie' Wynd
But boy can he give a good massage!!
Former Queanbeyan Tigers Junior
1st Grade Premiership – 1956 (Undefeated)
1st Grade Grand Finalist – 1961
1st Grade Captain / Coach – 1965
1st Grade Chairman of Selectors – 1976 - 1979
Total 1st Grade Games with Queanbeyan - 151
Tigers Masseur – 1998 to current
Bobby Griffin first played for the junior Tigers when he was about 10 years old in 1946. (Yep – one year after the second World War). Ten years later, he then played in the Queanbeyan/Acton 1st Grade Premiership team which soundly defeated the Manuka Bullants by 51 points.
Young Bobby was always “mad about footy” and that included rugby league as well as Australian football. He played over 100 games for both the Tigers and the Queanbeyan Blues and was even an inaugural Queanbeyan Whites rugby union player in their first season in 1955. However, he says he preferred the other codes and returned to the Tigers and Blues half way through that season.
He is rightfully proud of the fact that he played representative Australian Football for the ACT and for the Group 8 Rugby League representative team.
Following his playing days, Bob had a stint as the Tigers’ Senior coach in 1965, Chairman of Selectors in the late 1970s, spent many years as a masseur and bus driver for the Canberra Raiders NRL team and, for the last several decades has been back as a master masseur with the Tigers.
As well as the on-field achievements, Bob has fond memories of the odd off-field ‘adventure’ with the Tigers that he, of course, had nothing to do with, but was merely an innocent observer.
These include the time there was a major ‘dust up’ during a game at the Queanbeyan Park. What was unusual was that the fisticuffs were in the crowd between Tigers supporters and the ‘dirty mongrels’ supporting the Eastlake visitors. Apparently, one of the Eastlake committee men was an Inspector with the Federal Police force and was threatening to haul people in and lay charges after the ‘forceful exchange of opinions’. This idea was short-lived however, only lasting until one of the Tigers supporters pointed out that he was in Queanbeyan and had no authority in NSW.
On another occasion, during a standard trip home from a game in Canberra “on the back of Alan Rogers’ dad’s truck”, someone managed to somehow “lasso the bike” as they went past a cyclist near Harman. This resulted in that cyclist having the “fastest ride of his life”.
Whilst he was in the Chairman of Selector’s role, he remembers a game at Manuka oval when “a big tall fellow from the opposition” gave then Tigers coach, Kevin Delmenico, an earful of abuse while the teams were leaving the field at half time. Whilst making his way off the ground for a cordial and a piece of orange, coach Delmenico sauntered over to his abuser and quietly and efficiently “smacked him in the mouth”. As Chairman of Selectors, Bobby had strong intentions to have a stern word to the coach about his behaviour “but I couldn’t stop myself laughing”.
Bobby now views it as a challenge to keep himself involved with the club at 87 years young and still loves to torment his great mate Ron ‘Chook’ Fowlie. He also enjoys seeing the young players come through and mature as players and people. He is happy to chat to anyone in the trainers’ rooms and stir the pot whenever possible.
But, as many people know, once the massages are over and the game has begun, Bob will often quickly head for home because “I get too nervous to watch”.
This all then begs the questions. How can a man of such vast experience get too nervous to watch the game? And how much of the game did he watch as coach or as Chairman of Selectors? Was he even doing his job? What would it take to get him to watch these days?