Former Ilawarra Steelers and St George Dragons player Rex Terp

Another day, another interview, as we had a chat with former Illawarra Steelers and St George Dragons winger, Rex Terp.

A winger and centre, Terp had stints in both the ARL and the Super League.

His career may not have spanned as long as others but his it is just as interesting as any other and so, here is our interview with him.

  1. You came from the bush, the small town of Wauchope; what were your first memories of rugby league?
    I started playing when I was five and couldn’t get enough. Saturday was my favourite day of the week and on Sunday, you would go and watch the seniors play.
    My brothers and I were all ball boys or sand boys growing up, and everyone went to the football on a Sunday.
    I remember Jack Gibson would bring a side up to Wauchope for a trial match and the best always went back with him.

    When Mark Laurie was one of the last to make it, that gave every kid in Wauchope the belief, the hope.It was a highlight to come back home as a special guest and present trophies to the kids of the junior league with Mark and pass on the belief and hope.

2. Even before you played in the ARL, you played for Leeds; what was your experience in the Yorkshire town like?

It was an experience of a lifetime and coincidentally, Mark organised it for me.
I arrived and Leeds were decimated by injuries and the coach David Ward said, “I hope you can play, son; as soon as your visa comes through, you’re playing.”

I debuted against Salford at fullback and it was unbelievable. The crowd were singing and chanting and winning made it all better. 

Due to the international quota, I was only there for two months but getting to train with some of England’s best like Garry Schofield, Lee Crooks, Paul Dixon, Phil Ford and Carl Gibson was such an experience.

3. In 1991, you returned to Australia and signed with the St George Dragons, making your debut against the Bulldogs; what do you remember of the game?

I do, and it was ironic that I’d be up against Jarrod McCracken. The last time I played against him, I was playing for Wauchope.

My family and friends were all excited with the game being a Friday night game and by all reports, the pub and club were in full voice.

The game, however, wasn’t much to write home about. 

4. You had a final season with Illawarra in 1996 during the Super League War; was it a tense time to be a player during that period?

It was and for the first time, you were being asked to go professional. I had always worked and my sporting career was coming to an end.

To be told to throw your job in was a bit of a shock but a sign of the times.

I had a knee injury, lost a yard or two of pace and my form was on the slide.
I had a great job with Australia Post so the decision to retire was an easy one.

My memories of Super League were not good. It was a sporting war with no real winners. 

5. You played in two grand finals, both against the Broncos, although your side was unable to win either. What did it mean to run out on grand final day twice?

To be able to run out on grand final day is a dream come true. As a kid growing up in a small country town, everyone knows what happens on the last Sunday in September.

To reword Tennyson, “T’is better to have played and lost than to have not playedI at all,” and I get to see myself every year when they show the Pearl [Steve Renouf] running the length of the field.

Yeah, that’s me, the one that was stepped and left floundering! 

History will judge the Broncos as one of the best teams to play the game and it was a side full of talent. We got closer in the replay but no cigar. 

6. Since footy, how have you kept yourself busy and do you still have an active interest or involvement in the game?

I’m living in Melbourne and my only involvement is watching the Storm. 

They are a wonderful team and remind me of the Broncos of the same era. 

7. If you could give any advice to budding rugby league players, what would it be?

Get as fit as you can, always train with a football in tour hands and don’t believe anyone that tells you, ‘you won’t make it.’

By ricky

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