By Steve Menzies
I’d just made the NSW Schoolboys and North Sydney coach Steve Martin came over and said, ‘You’re playing for Manly but we want to sign you – come over check the facilities, keep it between us, don’t say anything’.
Me and my stepfather, about three or four days later, went to North Sydney Oval to check it all out. We go through the facilities, it was all nice. They said, ‘Right, we want to offer you $5,000’. That was ching ching. I was getting zero. Zero to $5,000 was big. I thought, ‘How good’s this’?
They stressed, ‘just keep this between us, don’t say anything’. We went home and the next night the phone rings. Mum answers it – no mobiles then, just the landline – and she says, ‘It’s Bob Fulton, for you’.
I was freaked out. I answered the call and he said, ‘Right, I know you’ve been to North Sydney, I know they’ve offered you $5,000. Come and see us tomorrow’. We hung up and thought, ‘Oh my god how does he know that – we haven’t told anyone’.
We went down and saw him at his office in Brookvale. He said, ‘what do you want?’ And we weren’t really ready for the question.
I’d just got accepted to ACPE (Australian College of Physical Education) which was about nine grand a year, being a private college. So we said, ‘$9,000’. He said, ‘done’. We shook hands and thought maybe we should have said, ‘$10,000’.
It was a three-year deal. Uni was three years so that’s what we said, to get the fees covered. That was 1992. In 1993, I came off the bench in first grade and in 1994 I made a Kangaroos tour. All the time on $9,000.