Heroes of Yesterday, Interview 27 - 24 April 2017 - Danny Moore
Where did you grow up?
I was born and Bred in Townsville. I turned 19 and two months later I was on the plane to Sydney.
What was your first football experience?
My father was a pretty handy footy player in the Townsville area. I played with the Tallis brothers in the Townsville competition. Dad played for the mighty South Townsville Bulls and old Wally Tallis was the coach and Wally Junios played.
As a child what was your most memorable experience of Rugby League?
Watching the first ever State of Origin. In those days we were usually in bed by 8pm and I was about 9 or 10 years of age, it was one of the only times my four younger brothers and I were allowed to stay up late. It was built up as an opportunity to get one back on NSW. I remember watching the first Origin and seeing the all in brawl and knew this was on for young and old.
Did you collect footy cards as a kid ?
No mate, we didn’t get them in Townsville. The ABC TV showed the Grand Finals of the Sydney competition, we lived on Brisbane Footy.
Who were your footballing heroes as a kid ?
I was a big fan of Wally Lewis, he just amazed me at what he could do on a footy field. I was never a 5/8.
How did you get to Sydney?
I played junior football for Centrals in Townsville and when I was 15 I played for Souths in the Townsville competition before going to Sydney. I played in a Queensland Under 19s side in 1990, Graham Lowe was the QLD Origin coach and he said he needed to speak with the number 13 right away. That was the curtain raiser for Origin at Lang Park, I had never played in front of such a big crowd.
Do you remember your first game in first grade, and what were the highlights and lowlights?
My first grade debut was in a Pre Season match against Canterbury at Lismore in 1991. I was so nervous before the game I was throwing up, I had never done that before and never again actually. I was playing as a lock forward.
My first proper match in 1991 was against Parramatta and again I was lock forward and my first tackle was on Brett Kenny.
I played a fair bit of Reserve Grade in 1991 and it was a fairly brutal game in those days. I do remember it was a lot more organised in first grade. In Reserve Grade you were trying to bash the living daylights out of your opposite number.
How were your Experiences playing for Manly between 1991 and 1997?
We played in consecutive Grand Finals from 1995 to 1997. I loved my time being involved as a member of the mighty Sea Eagles. Graham Lowe was my first coach there for the 1991 and 1992 seasons. My closest mates were Daniel Gartner, Scotty Fulton and Chris Ryan, as well as Ian Roberts.
I remember when I was selected for Queensland for the first time and Ian Roberts came out to the car park to congratulate me. There were some great players involved with the club such as Geoff Toovey and Mark Carroll.
The first Semi Final I played in was against a red hot Broncos side in 1993. The Broncos went on to win the comp that year and I came up against Steve Renouf, I couldn’t catch him in cover defence.
1995 against Canterbury Grand Final
Your first Grand Final is a nervous affair. The week leading up to the Grand Final was the big part, there was so much going on. We tried to steady our nerves during the game. The Bulldogs got off to a good start with Steve Price scoring a try in the 7th minute. In the second half the Bulldogs scored a try on the 7th tackle and I actually missed a tackle on my opposite number, Mark Ryan. We were a bit disjointed in that game, we probably lost our way a little bit. We came off the field pretty dejected after 13 months of hard training.
1996 Grand Final against St George
We were a lot more focused and had learnt lessons from the year before. There was a controversial play the ball try from Matthew Ridge. We enjoyed carrying the trophy around that day. We were the better side on the day.
1997 Grand Final against Newcastle
The try on the death won it for them, it was one of those games. I got a head knock in the second half, Joey Johns made something out of nothing in the second half.
State Of Origin Selection
In 1994 I was actually called in as a shadow player. In 1995 when the Super League was going on and many of the regular Queenslanders not available for selection, I was picked in Fattys Neville Nobodies side. There was a misture of young guys like Robbie O’Davis and Brett Dallas and some old heads like Gary Larson and Trevor Gillmeister. The Fat Mans job was to get us to become good mates with each other and have a cold beer together. My recollection of what we did was Mark Hohn put his hand up and said he had a backline move. The move involved having the two centres on the same side of the field, we used his move and it came off with a try, and I was lucky enough to be involved in that. Fatty worked on telling us that Origin was won by defending the line. We won the first match 2-0.
State Of Origin Blue
It was the 1995 Origin match down in Melbourne, Hoppa and myself were against each other. The whisper we got was the first person who yelled Queenslander was going to get a smack in the mouth. Hoppa had gone looking for Singy and I thought Singy was out of his depth and I told Hoppa to settle down. He pulled my jumper over my head and it was survival after that.
Your debut for Australia?
I was selected for Australia in 1995 and it had a bit to do with winning the Origin Series. Bob Fulton was the coach and he knew he could use me either in the centres or the second row. I played my first Test Match against New Zealand from the bench. I came on in the lock forward position and we rolled New Zealand at Lang Park.
Terry Hill picked up a suspension in that match and I took his spot in the centres for the remainder of the Test Series.
What was your highlight of playing First Grade football?
Obviously I was very fortunate to to play in three Grand Finals in Australia and one in England. Also playing in an Origin Series and winning it by three games to nil was very special. I also got to represent my country. They are all pretty much in line with each other.
How was your time at the Wigan Warriors between 1998-1999?
At the end of the 1997 season they were bringing the two competitions together and there was a fair bit of uncertainty about how the two comps would go once reunited. I received a phone call telling me that Wigan were looking for centres and I thought it was a good opportunity to join a Premiership winning side. John Monie was the coach and I got to play with a wonderful bunch of players. In 1998 we got to the Grand Final at Old Trafford and we beat Leeds on the day. I was fortunate to play alongside Jason Robertson, Henry Paul, Andy Farrell, Simon Gordon, Robbie McCormack and Mark Bell.
What made you move to the London Broncos
I had a few dramas at the end of the 1999 season and I was more pushed out of Wigan than anything else. I went to London and ended up breaking my jaw so I decided to come home.
On return to Australia you signed with the Cowboys in 2001
I had a bit of a cameo there, moved my young family to Townsville. I was asked to give a hand with the young guns.
Who was your most respected rival?
Big Mal Meninga, he taught me a lesson or two. I remember playing in against Mal in the 1993 season and in the second half he played all over me after getting on top of him in the first half.
What was the best team you played against?
The Canberra side of the mid 90’s was the best side. The toughest was Canterbury, for some reason you always left the field battered and bruised. They were the team that made you work the hardest.
When did you know it was time to give the game away?
They wanted to pay me match money, no salary money. At 29 years of age there wasn’t enough incentive and I had a young family and wife to think about. I would have kept playing on, I actually enjoyed the training.
What followed after football?
I worked as a financial advisor and five years ago I had a career change and became and electrician. I also have two teenage daughters.
How has the game changed since your playing days?
The management of the ruck annoys me a bit. Obviously these days the young footballers are phenomenal athletes but the footballing skills are being lost a bit. Referees are not prepared to call held.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
Asana, modern cuisine
What are your hobbies?
Riding mountain bikes and road cycling, that is how I fill up my spare time. I collect old school BMX’s
Have you collected your own footy cards ?
Mate I have a few sets that I have set aside for my daughters.
Have you collected your own footy cards ?
My mum dropped off two boxes of newspaper clippings and a box of VHS games.