Roy Higgins was a jockey everyone knew and it didn’t matter if they followed racing or not. He was one of the first, if not the first jockey to have a media profile. Roy clearly knew his stuff and had a good sense of humour. I heard a recent interview with him replayed last weekend and he indicated that his favourite horse was Light Fingers. This was also reflected in a very good article about him in the Herald Sun written by the doyen of racing writers, Les Carlyon. He said that the only photos of horses in Higgin’s house were of Light Fingers. His post riding aim was to be a little fat man and he was also successful in that regard! He won 108 Group 1 races in a time when
there were less Group 1 races and with a heavy weight jockey, he also had a smaller pool to choose from. One of the greats!
Dean Bailey’s death was probably more tragic given that he was only recently diagnosed with cancer and 47 at the time of his death. I saw him play his first game for the Bombers down at Geelong and he kicked goals with his first two kicks in league football. He wasn’t a great player, but probably got the best out of himself and often these types of players make good coaches. He certainly had a good CV as an assistant coach and his time at Melbourne as a senior coach came to an unfortunate end. I also think he was harshly dealt with in the tanking saga. To his credit he never tried to push the blame onto anyone else and took his lumps. Universally liked and his sacking at Melbourne was not something that came from losing the players.
Taken too soon!
On a brighter note it was great to see Cameron Smith re-sign with the Melbourne Storm. He is not only the club captain, but also the captain of Queensland and Australia, so it would be hard to have a better CV. With him staying with the Storm it will be easier to attract and retain players. A coup of some proportions given the obvious interest from the Brisbane Broncos. He capped it all off last weekend by leading the Storm to a stirring victory with his first drop goal in the NRL.
The AFL starts back tonight and I am looking forward to sitting back with a few cold ones watching Fre(dis)mantle Collingwood. Fremantle are my tip for the premiership and if they are to fulfil my prediction, they have to win tonight.
Have a great weekend.