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Queensland rugby league great Brad Tessmann
Queensland rugby league great Brad Tessmann

A cold beer with . . . footballer who made it to the top

Michael Nunn

IF I wanted to sit down with a hardworking forward with a dangerous offload, I'd find Brad Tessmann.

He was a Magpie, Rooster, Dolphin and Bronco.

Tessmann played a Test for Australia and five Origin games for Queensland.

I put the electrical tape around my head and ordered two beers and charged headlong into Tessmann.

Souths were making grand finals just for fun. How did you go from Kingaroy to Souths?

A few of us came down from the area. Chris Cronin and Lloyd Clarke came to Souths. I was ready for the chance and you are right Souths were the gun side at the time. It was pretty exciting to be joining them.

I was coming to be coached by Wayne Bennett but then he went to Brothers and Bob McCarthy came on board. I learnt a lot from McCarthy. I am still close to Bob now and we talk often.

It's the 1982 grand final and Souths lose 17-3 to Wynnum. As the defending premiers that had to hurt?

I missed the 1981 grand final. I played Reserve Grade that day but in 1982 we came up against a Wynnum side that was just too good and ready to dominate. They were a terrific side.

I remember Ken Spence fumbling a kick and then Brett French running away to score.

That night at Davies Park was still a good night.

In 1983, you played Origin, Tests and toured the UK with Queensland. Was that your best year?

Yeah, it was a special year. To play for Queensland was unbelievable. I remember we played at Lang Park on the Sunday afternoon and we were back at Davies Park having a beer when the news came through I had been picked to play Origin.

Paul Vautin was my first roommate and he was great to have him there for my first game. I had a few good roommates over the time. I had Mal a few times and he was great. I knew Mal from when he was in Bundaberg and I was in Kingaroy.

Dolphins come calling, like they always do. Was that Tossers' handy work?

Yeah Tosser got me to the Dolphins but to be honest I hardly played. I had some injuries and was pretty limited at the Dolphins.

Off to the Roosters in Sydney. How did that come about?

Like all good Queensland stories, it involved Arthur. I think the Dolphins got word to Beetson and then I signed with the Roosters. I loved it at the Roosters. We had some Queenslanders there and I told the Roosters about Trevor Gillmeister at Norths in Brisbane and Dennis Watt was involved with Norths so Gilly came down and Mike McLean came down with me too. I was living at Bondi and working at the Leagues Club. It was a good life.

Your Test match debut didn't go to plan?

Yeah against New Zealand at Lang Park and Arthur Beetson as coach you wouldn't think it could go badly but I got food poisoning and was in all sorts of trouble the night before the game. I couldn't keep anything down and was just terrible.

Arthur kept giving me longer to prove I was alright. I couldn't go to the jumper presentation the night before the game so I didn't get my number 13 jumper. It then went missing. I suspect an official thought he won't play I might just souvenir a Test jumper for my collection.

The next day when I have come alright I played in 17. I got through about 65 minutes of the game. My Test jumper is framed but it's number 17. They presented me with number 13 a few days later.

Brad Tessmann as part of the 1988 Brisbane Broncos. Back row: Grant Rix, Tony Schafer, Scott Lewis, Andrew Tessmann, Peter Benson, Brad Foster, Craig Marshall, Dean Sammut, Alan Cann, G Thorogood. 3rd row: Mark Meskell, Michael Hancock, Colin Scott, Peter Sinclair, Terry Matterson, Brook Kennedy, Chris Johns, Brett Walters, Brad Tessmann, Greg Conescu. 2nd row: Darryl Brohman (Reserve Grade coach
Brad Tessmann as part of the 1988 Brisbane Broncos. Back row: Grant Rix, Tony Schafer, Scott Lewis, Andrew Tessmann, Peter Benson, Brad Foster, Craig Marshall, Dean Sammut, Alan Cann, G Thorogood. 3rd row: Mark Meskell, Michael Hancock, Colin Scott, Peter Sinclair, Terry Matterson, Brook Kennedy, Chris Johns, Brett Walters, Brad Tessmann, Greg Conescu. 2nd row: Darryl Brohman (Reserve Grade coach

You were there at the start of the Broncos. What memories do you have of that time?

I wanted to come home and finally be coached by Wayne Bennett. It was exciting and playing with all those stars at the Broncos and for the first Brisbane team. I had a job as development officer and played first grade that year.

I wrote to the Broncos in 1988 telling them of my love for Allan Langer and how we were from the same city. Who should write back to me but Brad Tessmann.

"I remember having to write letters to people, it was fun part of my role as a development officer,'' Tessmann said.

"You're right. A huge part of the mail was for Alf, Wally or Gene. I didn't answer too many letters to me."



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