When Rugby and Politics Mixed


(The basement bar was traditionally assigned to Wests players after games, suggesting club management accorded Fraser and his supporters the same status as Dallas Donnelly who had been ruled out three times).

Joe Cool retained his faith in his free market values, joining mega-rich Manly in 1980 and later running for Keira’s NSW seat in the 2011 election as a Liberal. “Politics is dog food and Labor sent in their herdsmen to accuse me of being a slot machine salesman, even though I wasn’t one at the time. But I reduced their margin from 23% to 1.4, with 1500 votes difference.

His second political tilt was successful, being elected third on a Liberal ticket for Wollongong council. “There were three elections and I maintained my position,” he said.

His former Wests and Manly teammate Les Boyd was also recently elected to the Cootamundra/Gundagai council, the fourth councilor of nine elected. “I ran as an independent, but I’m a liberal,” he said, a rare example of honesty in municipal elections.

Another of the Fibro boys, Mick Liubinskas, ran for the Community First Party in the December election in City of Canada Bay.

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“We had three, including the mayor, Angelo Tsirekas, but I came in fourth,” he said.

“I was beaten on Labor preferences. They gave theirs to the Liberals because Labor was dirty on the mayor for switching to our independent party.

Tsirekas was later investigated by the ICAC and resigned.

If Tsirekas were to resign from the board, Liubinskas should replace him.

Liubinskas was embroiled in one of rugby league’s most controversial dramas when he was substituted in a 1975 match against Canterbury which ended 7-7. Wests lost his premiership point for the draw because Liubinskas was an illegal substitute, having failed to complete the reserve game.

As Joe Cool and Les Boyd say they will vote Liberal in Saturday’s election, Mick is still playing politics, saying: ‘If I sit on the board it will be the second time I have left the bench in controversial circumstances .”

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