Heroes of Yesterday, Interview 7 - 22 March 2016 - Ian Barkley
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Kempsey and moved to Newcastle at the age of 9.
What was your first football experience?
I remember playing barefoot rugby league in Kempsey and when moving to Newcastle and playing under nines having to wear shoes.
As a child what was your most memorable experience of Rugby League ?
Being selected in the NSW under 12’s that toured NSW.
Who were your footballing heroes as a kid ?
Do you remember your first game in first grade, and what were the highlights and lowlights?
My first full game was playing Penrith at Penrith park. I received the Frank Hyde man of the match. Prior to that I would play half a game second grade to qualify to be a reserve for first grade (a rule that younger league fans are blown away by the concept), whilst some games were rewarding for me I also on one occasion missed a tackle on Percy Knight at Leichhardt oval that cost us the game.
What was your highlight of playing First Grade football?
League provided many highlights and challenges. Being selected for the Australian Schoolboys tour of France and England 1979/1980, NSW sportswriters Rookie of the year 1981, playing several semi-final series at SCG. Second grade premiership with Manly in 1988.
The highlight for me about Rugby League however from schoolboys to grade was the friendships, relationships and character building experiences that have created the life I now lead and the person I am.
Who was your most respected rival?
Most respected rival early in my career was Steve Mortimer. Real competitor, tough despite his size and super fast.
What was the best team you played against?
Best side played against no doubt was parramatta in all 3 premiership years, 1981,82,83.
When did you know it was time to give the game away?
I had lost the passion needed to be competitive by 1989 and as such sitting on the bench for 2nd grade was a clear sign that it was time to let the next generation take my place.
What followed after football?
I own a chemical manufacturing business with Bob Fulton and we service predominately the mining operations of QLD and NSW
How has the game changed since your playing days?
The game today is as tough as it ever was physically. The game in my day was very dirty, you ran with the object of protecting your head. I believe the modern game with controls on illegal play have allowed players to be more creative. In my era it was a game of attrition, 2 replacements, no interchange, a far cry from todays rules. I still love the modern game, it has issues as all eras have, but the quality of play and gladiator combatant nature is still evident and enjoyable to see.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
Pauls Asian Affair Newcastle
What are your hobbies?
Have you collected your own footy cards ?
Not all, I have a complete set of 1982 cards that includes 1 of my years
Did you keep a scrap book?
I didn’t but my mother was a prolific scrap booker and she kept anything and everything on my career. I now have them and find it interesting to look over them from time to time and see players I had the privilege of competing with as well as opposition players we “cut dirt with”