Rugby League: ‘One thing Terry Newton said that day haunts me’
The first thing I heard after arriving at the Halliwell Jones was the terrible news that Terry Newton had been found dead. Check around and find it’s all too true.
I admit to being thoroughly spooked by this. A few weeks before I’d spent an afternoon at his pub – at his invitation – to talk about his ban, his book and his plans for the future.
Superficially, he was handling it well; underneath, as I think emerged in the feature I wrote for Rugby League World magazine, I thought he was deeply depressed.
You ask yourself in these situations whether there’s more you could have done. Is it good enough to turn up, do the interview, write the piece and wash your hands of it? What else can you do? If I’d shared any concerns with somebody closer to him, would I have been telling them anything they didn’t know? I doubt it.
One thing Terry said that day haunts me. He would, he said, be remembered for two things – taking drugs and smashing Sean Long’s cheekbone. Well, now it’s three.
He deserves better than that. He could be a ruthless and over-aggressive player, but he was undoubtedly a gifted and brave one.
He was capable of being an idiot off the field, but he had a lot of warmth and good about him as well.
That’s something that should be remembered on Saturday, especially by one man who approached me in the press box at Warrington.
Was it true that Terry Newton had committed suicide, he asked me.
Yes, I was sorry to say that it was.
And was there going to be a minute’s silence at the Grand Final?
I wasn’t sure at the time, but I thought there might well be.
“If there is, I’m going to boo through it,” he said, rather proudly.
Well, whoever you were, that’s just about the harshest thing I’ve ever heard anyone say about a fellow human being. So congratulations on that.
Terry Newton did some things wrong in his career. He knew that better than anyone and he has surely paid the price.
After that, it almost seems trite to say that the rugby that day was great. Even with a 45 minute interruption whilst the stand smouldered, the Halifax-Featherstone game was a classic. And Rob Worrincy’s try was the best I’ve seen this season.
If there’s as magical a moment at Old Trafford, we’ll all be richly entertained.Tagged in: Grand Final, Halifax, rugby league, Terry Newton
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