Tackling Big Mal toughest mission for Queensland quick
DIRK Tazelaar is one of Queensland's best known fast bowlers and a member of the first Queensland team to win the Sheffield Shield.
But it all might have been very different had Carl Rackemann and John McGuire not signed up for the rebel cricket tour of South Africa in 1985.
Their subsequent suspensions from cricket in Australia handed Tazelaar a spot in the Queensland team, prompting his decision to hang up the footy boots.
Before then he had been a promising centre and winger for the Gatton premiership-winning sides of 1983-84 and the Ipswich Jets, before they were part of the Brisbane Rugby League.
They only played in the statewide secondary competition. But it pitted them against the big guns of the Brisbane Rugby League, which in those days featured the likes of Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga and Gene Miles.
In his two years playing for the Jets, Tazelaar won only one game, against Redcliffe. That day he was on the wing, marking the veteran former international John Ribot.
Thirty years on, Tazelaar hopes the current crop of Jets can repeat the dose and progress to the Queensland Cup semi-finals.
Tazelaar remembers a fair bit about his first game for the Jets, against Souths, mostly because he was marking Meninga in the centres. Meninga had Peter Jackson beside him in the centres with Gary Belcher at fullback.
"We lost 50-25 at Lang Park," Tazelaar recalls. "Belcher got sick of scoring tries.
"With Mal, my goal was just not to let him get through. I think I was off-side most of the time.
"In one situation I was on the blindside and he was as well.
"He took it straight up at me so I just charged at him as hard as I could and closed my eyes.
"It was a good experience."
A year after Tazelaar committed to cricket, the Jets were admitted into the Brisbane Rugby League.
"It all worked out pretty well," Tazelaar said. "I was just happy to get in any team I was picked in.
"I really enjoyed that standard.
"But I don't think Meninga and Gene Miles had any troubles with me."