A cold beer with . . . footy fanatic ‘Fatty’ Vautin
With Michael Nunn
In 1979, a young Paul Vautin left the Wests Panthers for the glamour and bright lights of Manly. "Fatty" would play for Queensland, Australia and captain Manly to a premiership on the way. We sat down in the shade and two red heads put on some sunscreen and talked about the journey from Wests.
You go straight from Under 18 to Wests A grade in 1978. What are your memories of those days? All I wanted to do was play for Wests. Nothing else mattered to me. I signed my first contract with Wests for $100 a year at 16 and I went home and said to dad they are going to pay me to play football dad, 'how good is that?' Round one in 1978 and I play A Grade at Bishop Park. We won and I was the goal kicker. My two from five made all the difference.
In the 1978 knockout final, you lost to Valleys 17-10 but you scored a 65m try. What role did that try play in Manly being interested? It got noticed and the Bears came knocking first but Wests Panthers put a $7000 transfer fee on me as well as North Sydney paying me $5000. The Bears said not paying that but a couple of days later Ken Arthurson rang and said come to Manly so I signed for three years.
When you left at the end of 1978, it might have meant you never play for Queensland and in fact had to play for the Blues. How that would have changed your life? Wasn't even on my radar to be honest. I signed for $7000 a year for three years and my grand life plan was I will go down to Sydney in my Monaro and play three years of Reserve grade and come back and play for Wests. Round one 1979 I played Reserve grade and then I am sitting there when Terry Randall breaks his hand. Our coach Frank Stanton turns around and says: 'Red head you are on'. First hit up I ran all 85kg of me straight at Rod Reddy and he creamed me, absolutely hurt me. I got up, played the ball, with a massive smile and thought I am playing first grade in Sydney. How good. Reddy looked at me like what is wrong with this guy.
Any favourite Ipswich teammates? It can only be Alf. I was in the room that day before his Origin debut and Bennett is trying to hide him in the defence. Alf looked embarrassed so I spoke up for him and said he will do the job leave him in the front with us.
He should be an immortal he was just so good.
Any memories of trips to Ipswich? I remember playing Under 18 against Ipswich, such a long trip out there. I have loved watching the Jets in the Intrust Super Cup. I watch it every Sunday and I get so much enjoyment out of Ipswich football. Ben and Shane Walker did a terrific job and great family, great people. I went to watch Sam Walker play last year and the whole family is there. I made my debut against a Norths side with Gary Walker in 1978 and his boys and family are just terrific people. Ben and Shane are great at explaining things. I have asked why do you do that and they always take the time to explain it. I hope they are not lost to the game.