Saturday, April 17, 2021

Laurie Daley pays tribute despite difficult past

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A who’s who of the sporting world of Sydney, led by legendary league coach Wayne Bennett, former rugby league teammates and rivals Laurie Daley, Matthew Johns and Gorden Tallis, and great Michael O’Loughlin of the AFL came together to pay tribute to Anthony Mundine.

Of all the stars present, Mundine’s relationship with Daley was the one that lasted arguably the most turbulent over the years.

While Mundine mentioned Johns’ selection in the 2000 State of Origin series as the catalyst for leaving the Dragons to get into boxing, his relationship with Daley is a bit more complicated.

The retired boxer’s infamous “running on old legs” during his league career was the tip of the iceberg. The former Canberra star, who is also indigenous, was the famous five-eighth of her era, much to Mundine’s dismay.

Daley and Brad Fittler have won prime ministerial positions, have been captains of their state and country, and have consistently been chosen ahead of Mundine in his preferred fifth position. He won a prime ministerial post with Brisbane in the 1997 Super League season as a center and played for NSW off the bench in the 1999 Origin series, but never had the chance to play a representative game. in halftime.

Mundine was 6-0 against Daley and Fittler from 1996-2000 in one-on-one clashes at the five-eighth position. The former league star tweeted whenever he had one on them.

Daley would never respond, retaining a steadfast determination that made him a favorite among coaches. That is, until a clash between the Dragons and the Raiders, where Mundine felt that Daley was not happy. No trash, he just had a hardcore look in his eyes, Mundine said.

“One day when we played Laurie he grabbed the ball right off the kickoff and ran right at me, it was like sending a message,” Mundine told Wide World of Sports.

“I told him ‘All day bro, all day you are not going to come near me, I am going to break you every time.’

“I just spoke shit to him and he said ‘yeah righteo righteo’.”

Field clashes aside, Mundine has thrown verbal Reapers under his belt in order to sell his fights and in recent years Daley has been caught in the crossfire. In 2013, Daley was at a camp training the Native All Stars when he learned that Mundine had labeled him and Immortal Arthur Beetson “ Uncle Toms, ” an offensive term that describes a black man seen as overly obedient. to the Whites.

At a press conference ahead of his loss to IBF middleweight world champion Daniel Geale, Mundine let Daley fly for not sufficiently proclaiming his Indigenous heritage, while lamenting Beetson’s role in keeping him out of the way. Kangaroos team as selectors president.

Mundine was bracing for a fight but he still had time to poke Daley, but his former rival said he took no offense at the comments, stating he was comfortable in his own skin.

“You know what? I’m comfortable knowing who I am and where I’m from,” he said at the time. “I don’t have to tell the world who I am, what I am.

“I understand he sells [boxing] tickets so for me it is not a problem. I accept people for who they are and if Choc means things, it is his prerogative. He’s justifying himself, so that’s fine. I don’t care what people say about me. “

It wasn’t the first time Mundine had taken down other Indigenous stars, calling Indigenous icon Cathy Freeman a “sell-out” in 2007. Yet among all those he had insulted, and there were none wrong on the list, Daley put it behind him. to appear yesterday at the press conference on Mundine’s retirement to pay tribute to “The Man”.

Mundine still intended for boxing

“What a wonderful human being he is,” said Daley.

“We all admire what he does in the boxing ring and on the rugby league pitch, but it goes much further than that.

“Choc has been a wonderful ambassador for the Aboriginal community. He defends his people, he is very passionate about what he does.

“Someone who stands up for their own beliefs and what they believe in.

“He is without a doubt one of the greatest Australian sportsmen of all time but, although he has had a wonderful career in the rugby league and in the ring, I think we are about to see the start of a greater legacy. “

Even though Mundine has admitted to saying “raw” things in the past, the fact that Daley has come forward to express his gratitude is an indication that he has come full circle.

“It was special for him to come here and show his support, we had a big rivalry between me, him and Fittler,” Mundine said. “We never hit heads off the field, I never really saw them. But on the pitch it was like a world title fight. Alhamdulillah, I always came out on top.”

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