On the podcast this week we speak to Souths CEO Blake Solly, check out our debutant Troy Dargan & look at the moster clash with the Roosters at Bankwest Stadium.
Newly appointed Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly is a fine administrator & in our dealings with him he has only ever been welcoming & friendly. We spoke to The Juniors Chairman Keith McCraw about Blake. Keith has put a lot of work into building a close relationship between the junior & senior clubs. Keith said “Blake is an absolute champion & a good operator, we are in good hands”.
Troy Dargan is a 22 year old former Australian Schoolboy and NSW U20s representative as well as representing Cook Islands at Test level. Dargan played for the Guildford Owls, Wentworthville Magpies, Parramatta Eels, Brisbane Broncos & Norths Devils before arriving at Souths. A highly-regarded junior coming through the ranks at the Eels, Dargan played in the 2014 Australian Schoolboys team alongside the likes of Latrell Mitchell, Brock Lamb and Jayden Brailey and in 2016 was the Eels’ NYC Players’ Player and halfback in the NYC Team of the Year.
In 2018 it was reported that Dargan was considered for the starting half role in Round 1 for the Broncos but his NRL dream wasn’t realised. Dargan said at the time “My dad played footy and I just grew up with a football in my hand. Mum and Dad always say one of the first steps I took as a child was walking to try and kick a footy”.
“Mum and Dad said I used to sleep with a ball under my arm every night so I just grew up with a footy and then when you turn 6 and 7 that’s when you start playing and never looked back.
Take a look at his highlight package in the 2019 QLD Cup (below) & you can’t help but be impressed. Dargan is quick, runs the ball, has magic ball skills & a great left foot kicking game. If he can bring that form to the Rabbitohs he’s going be a star in the NRL. On the podcast last year in Season 1 Episode 12 Grand Final Heroes, Scott Sattler praised Dargan, saying he is a speedy halfback & Wayne Bennett is a big fan.
We spoke to Michael ‘Gibbo’ Gibson about his life as a Rabbitohs supporter. Gibbo is a regular at Bourke Street Bakery & says “If you like mochas and hot chocs you will love the Bourke Street Bakery ones because they use real chocolate buds in there instead of chocolate powder, hardly any joints do that”.
“I’m an inner city boy fell & in love with Rabbitohs in late 80’s while living at Woolloomooloo. I grew up in The Rocks/Millers Point (Ex Rabbitoh Chris Caruana is from same area).”
“My mother and family are Carrions & grew up in Douglas and Mount Streets in Redfern. My uncles Ray and Roy Carrion were Souths fans.”
“My favourite Souths players over the years are Phil Blake for his individual brilliance and Tugger for his craftiness in the late 80’s. I also loved watching Tricky Trindall in the 90’s, he was probably my favourite player to watch of all of them, he was a standout when we were doing it tough. I liked watching John Sutton come through mid 2000’s especially at 5’8, I loved his skill set and left hand offload & more recently watching Cam Murray in attack and defence has been amazing.”
“I haven’t got a favourite moment but just having a quality team to follow each year is my highlight and one that my kids are excited to follow especially after those dark years we had, that’s what I’m happy about. I predict another grand final win before Wayne retires.”
“My kids Chloe and Blake are now mad Rabbitohs fans even though we moved out of the Souths area 2 years ago. My son Blake loves Cody Walker and wants to be him all the time, even my daughter pretends to be John Sutton when they are running around tackling each other.”
“I walked out to my first amateur fight with Reggie Rabbit leading me out to the sounds of Glory Glory. This was a highlight of my sporting life by far.” Michael Gibson
The Juniors is opening its doors on Monday 1st of June 2020
It’s a miserable windswept rainy Tuesday afternoon in 1987 at the Richmond Race Club harness track in Sydney.
A race is about to start & Newbridge Boy driven by the 17 year old kid from Redfern Darren Brown is raring to go with his ears pricked. Newbridge Boy is a long shot to win, its a strong field with most of the other runners more fancied.
The Atlantic Star has the legend John E Binskin at the helm & Sunlit Path, the odds on favourite has the lady Leanne Beynon in the sulky.
This isn’t the group one Inter Dominion Final or the Miracle Mile, it’s the Intermediate Handicap at a mid week meeting but the legend, the lady & the kid from Redfern are about to go to battle on the track. This is a special moment in sport.
The first harness race in this country was held in Parramatta in 1810 & was won by a horse named Miss Kitty. I’m going to tell you a story about a harness race win that took place 177 years later. It isn’t a famous victory, there’s no record breaking margin or notoriety other than for the people involved. It is however an important milestone in the life of one man, a man who will forever remember the day he took on a challenge & won. That man is Darren Brown.
This story describes a special day in the Brown family. It’s the day that Darren Leslie Brown drove his one & only harness race winner trained by his dadLeslie William Brown at Richmond in Sydney.
Darren Brown steered Newbridge Boy to victory by 10 metres in a time of 2 minutes 43.4 seconds at odds of 33 to 1 in the Intermediate Handicap from a standing start over 2020 metres. Odds on favourite Sunlit Path driven by Leanne Beynon was 2nd & The Atlantic Star driven by the late John Binskin was 3rd. Newbridge Boy was owned by W. Stolzenbach.
So Darren drove a winner at big odds but there’s a few of reasons why this should never have happened. Here’s a summary-
Newbridge Boy hadn’t won a race since 1985 & in its last start at Gosford it ran 10th beaten by 20 metres.
The majority of the 9 other horses in the race were better performed than Newbridge Boy & 2 of those were driven by proven harness racing stars. Sunlit Path was the odds on favourite & was handled by Leanne Beynon who was Sydneys’ leading female trainer/driver of the 80s & 90s. The Atlantic Star was driven by group 1 winner John Binskin, a man regarded as one of the finest horseman ever in the sport. To this day there is a Binskin Lounge at Bankstown Paceway. Its named in honour of the Binskin family racing trio of Johns’ father Jack & his son Darren. All of whom are harness racing stars.
Darren Brown was a kid with limited experience so his presence in the race was assumed to be ‘making up the numbers’.
Roughies don’t usually lead all the way, they sometimes go to an early lead but more often than not capitulate & stop like they’ve been shot with a gun way before the winning post.
There is however more than one reason why Darren did win-
He grew up in Great Buckinghham Street Redfern where they breed them tough. Darrens’ will to win would see him play over 200 first grade rugby league games in both Australia & England.
Darren was a naturally gifted driver, Darren Binskin said “Darren (Brown) from the get go sat in the gig well & looked like a harness driver. He also took his opportunity.”
The horse liked the wet & had previously won a race at Richmond.
A horse that was challenging for the lead James Dee broke & galloped handing Newbridge Boy an easy quarter in the lead as they heard the bell for the last lap.
“When Darren was 14 or 15 years old you couldn’t keep him off the horses” Les said. “So if I didn’t let him drive he used to blow up all the time. So he began driving for me occasionally & on the day of the race I had to work. Darren took charge, he took Newbridge Boy to Richmond, geared it, drove it & drove it good too.
“I was only 17 years old & there was a bit of pressure on me to take the horse there” Darren said. “I had to do everything, it was a wet day pouring rain. The horse wasn’t a great one but he used to go well on this track. He liked the grass surface, a wet track & the way of going so everything was in his favour on this day.
“Newbridge Boy was 33 to 1 but we thought he had a big hope. There was an odds on favourite in the race (Sunlit Path) but I was quietly confident. I knew we were going to lead and early in the race the driver of the favourite loomed up to pressure me but then she backed off & I got a couple of easy quarters. Around the home turn I kicked away but back then Richmond had a 300 metre straight & the winning post took forever to get past. Half way down the straight I got a little bit excited & hit the horse a few too many times with the old cane whip & copped a fine from the stewards.
“In the end I won the race & beat a couple legend drivers in Leanne Beynon & John Binskin, it was a great thrill. I drove Newbridge Boy in his next start at Penrith & he had run a quick time at Richmond so he was the favourite. We started from the back & he was a pretty fierce horse & used to get on the bit. Once we were away I couldn’t really hold him so I had to go around the field & sit in the worst position in the race in what is called the ‘death seat’ which is just outside the leader. Anyway the horse faded in the run, ran last & the punters booed me off the track.” (Ironically the winner of that race was My Triumph driven by John E Binskin)
Leanne Beynon was a successful female harness trainer/driver. Beynon won races at Sydneys’ Harold Park & was also victorious in the time honoured feature PJ Hall Memorial (Perc Hall) in 1998 with Our Big Monte over 2420m at Penrith Paceway.
In 1987 Darren Brown was dating Leannes’ sister Michelle & Darren stayed at the Beynon house the night before the race. The Beynons were a harness racing family & the girls father John Beynon was highly regarded in the industry.
“They were talking their horse Sunlit Path up” Darren recalled, “They said their horse was flying (it had won 5 races previously including a win at Richmond) & they were going to rip into me & attack me if I took the lead & that I would eventually have to hand up to them (give them the lead). I said we’ll see on the day then in the race she attacked me early but I got the bikkies & had the last laugh so to Leanne thanks a lot!
“Leanne was talented from the start & was good with the horses” said Darren Binskin. “She was one of the first ladies in the sport & did exceptionally well. Leanne also had a lot of friends at Bankstown who had her back & would look out for her”.
We also heard that Leanne had a fiery side that would flare up when she was crossed. This passionate trait was no doubt an asset for a lady making her way in a male dominated sport.
John E Binskin
John E Binskin was the leading harness driver (36 wins 1978-79) & trainer (30 wins 1980-81) at Harold Park in Sydney. Johns’ son Darren was also top trainer (42 wins 1995-96) at the same venue which was the home of harness racing in NSW until it was closed in 2010 & relocated to Menangle in western Sydney.
In 1988 John Binskin drove Our Maestro to win the group one Inter-Dominion Final at Harold Park. In the same race Johns’ son Darren drove Karalta Gift to 6th place & shook hands with his dad after they both had passed the winning post. Also at the track was Johns’ father Jack who was celebrating his 81st birthday.
“There’ll be a lot of tears shed around this course because (Binskin) has been a very poplular driver over many years” said ABC caller David Morrow. “I’m sure his father Jack will be shedding a little tear because his son has finally cracked it for an Inter Dominion championship”,
The Binskins are a famous racing family. There is a Binskin Lounge at Bankstown Paceway named after John, his father Jack & son Darren (As told to me by Chad Bentley son of the late Les Bentley former longtime Bankstown Paceway President). Tragically John passed away in 1999 after he collapsed in the Binskin Lounge. Darren Binskin says that he takes comfort in the fact that his dad died with friends around him & didn’t die alone.
“JE was a great reinsman who just had an aura about him’ said Darren Brown. “He had a distinctive style, his famous silks were black with green stars & he wielded the whip in his left hand. After I won the race on Newbridge Boy, John lent over the sulky & shook my hand, it’s a moment I’ll never forget”.
The Richmond track, based at Londonderry, was first opened as a thoroughbred and harness track and held its first meeting on December 17, 1912. Aside from four years during the depression, the track has continually held race meetings until the present day.
The gallops ceased racing at Richmond in 1952 and the Club then operated solely with its trotting licence until October 1955 when greyhound racing was introduced on the straight track on site on Saturday afternoons. The Richmond trotting track was grass & with a straight of 300m long which was the longest in NSW.
On December 30, 1997, the last harness meeting was held at Richmond is now used solely for greyhound racing.
We visited Bankstown Paceway & Darren took us to Ellis Street which is a short walk from the track. Almost every house in Ellis Street once had stables in the backyard & it was here that the Browns, Binskins & Beynons all lived in 1987. In this era the sound of horses walking to & from the track all morning was the norm. These days many of the houses have been developed into housing blocks including Les Browns’ old home. Only a handful of trainers remain in the area & only 22 meetings are held per year at Bankstown.
Whilst at the track we were given a tour by operations manager Steve Thurlow. Steves’ son Ricky drove his first harness winner in his first ever drive for Les Brown.
Chad Bentley recalled fond memories of weekly family visits the track. “It was what all the local families did” said Chad. “We’d all go for a night out & have a great time”.
John Binskins’ wife Rita was a regular at Harold Park on Friday nights & would sit in the same seat every week with her friend Shirley. Rita was loved by all. Former Sydney race caller John Tapp described her as “a special lady”.
“My mums a very classy lady & always dressed immaculately” said son Darren. “People loved to talk to her because she was a bit of an entertainer”.
Long time Harold Park bookie Billy Trotter owned Bold And Regal, the horse that Les Brown trained to win the Group 1 Sires Stakes. “Billy took everyones money” said Les Brown. “and hes still got it”.
Don Cameron says: I saw Tugger grow up loving his football as a kid and as a senior player with South Sydney. There were some tough players that wore the red and green John Sattler, Les Davidson, David Boyle, Micheal Andrews but non tougher than Craig, he never took a backward step he had no fear. (28/12/2016)Rugby League Project
Mavos mate Les Smith had an horrific accident with a circular saw at home in Canberra last Saturday. Les nearly lost 3 fingers & needed a 10 hour operation. Les is as mad a Rabbitoh as you will ever find & along with wife Cindy they often travel from the nations capital down to Rabbitohs games. Get well soon mate.
Chaps, Browny & Mavo work together as wharfies at Port Botany in Sydney. A lot of their workmates are former rugby league players so they have compiled a wharfie dream team that would surely be hard to beat. Can anyone out there match this team from their workplace?
This weeks podcast features JD aka Rabbitohs assistant coach Jason Demetriou. Jason talks about his incredible rugby league journey as a player & coach that’s taken him around the world, across Australia & back to Redfern. JD shares the story about the first time he met Wayne Bennett, gives us an insight into the day his try helped save Wakefield Trinity, his time working with superstar Johnathan Thurston plus lots more. This one is an absolute beauty, don’t miss it 🎙
Rabbitoh Of The Week brought to you by Bourke Street Bakery is Kane Scott
Kane Scott contacted us via Instagram & generously gifted us a signed Rabbitohs jersey for display in our studio. Thanks Kane you’re an absolute legend mate & you have won a free coffee voucher from any of the the 14 Bourke Street Bakery stores across Sydney.
Crash And The Crapenters
Chris Carpenter & the boys from Crash allowed us to use their new song ‘There’s Many A Slip’ on last weeks show. As we were making the video clip to accompany the music we realised that the bands’ name is actually Crash & The CRAPenters not CARPenters. We just assumed that the band took its name from ‘Carpos’ surname but no they have put a little punk style twist on the word. We apologise to the boys from the band & we have amended the word to the correct spelling wherever it was possible to do so. You can be assured that in the future we won’t be making the same mistake again. Good luck with the new song Crash!
Chris Carpenter & the boys from Crash allowed us to use their new song ‘There’s Many A Slip’ on this weeks show. The words are extremely relevant at the moment “Just get back up…the brightest dawn can follow the darkest night!”.
As we were making the video clip to accompany the music we realised that the bands’ name is actually Crash & The CRAPenters not CARPenters. We just assumed that the band took its name from ‘Carpos’ surname but no they have put a little punk style twist on the word. Carpo has assured us that it’s ok & it happens all the time but we’d still like to apologise to the boys from the band. We have amended the title to the correct spelling wherever it was possible to do so. You can be assured that in the future we won’t be making the same mistake again. Good luck with the new song Crash!
We mentioned on this weeks show that we’d post the song for you to have a listen so here it is.