Carroll vs Lomax II
As David Lomax was getting stretchered from the field after his run in with Mark Carroll in round 12 of the South Sydney Rabbitohs 1999 season, his brother - John Lomax - was watching on television from Townsville with gritted teeth and clenched fists.
That day John swore he'd get even with Mark Carroll after he knocked out his little brother - and he wasn't keeping his intentions unknown. He brashly spoke to the media about his desire to flatten Mark Carroll when the Rabbitohs took the field against the North Queensland Cowboys in only six days.
You know John must have been furious, Carroll wasn't a bloke who you'd say these things about lightly. This was the forward who forced his way into the Australian side in 1990 while playing in a Rabbitohs team that claimed the wooden spoon; only winning two games that season. Carroll thrived in the physicality of the game.
In 1999, 'Spudd' still had desires to play representative football, specifically he had a desire to play for the NSW Blues. The challenge from Lomax, a 15-time New Zealand representative prop, was something Carroll saw as an opportunity to make his mark on Blues selectors.
South Sydney coach Craig Coleman felt Carroll was a pretty good chance of making it when he was interviewed by Big League magazine in the pre-season.
"He's one of the most intense footballers you could ever meet and he's dead set keen on a return to State of Origin football," Craig Coleman told Big League magazine.
"I'll tell you what, from what I know of the man and what I've seen of his training and attitude, he'll go awfully close to achieving that goal."
There was a calm before the storm at Redfern Oval after Lomax's comments. Carroll didn't say anything, captain Sean Garlick or coach Coleman didn't mention it during the week. They just got on with business. Although, 'deep down' - as 'Spudd' puts it - Lomax was on his mind during that week's preparation. He knew he had to, and was confident he would, win Carroll vs Lomax II.
"There was little bit of talk when he came out in the papers and said he wanted to give it to me. The players wouldn't of said anything but I knew deep down that I was going to get him," remembers Carroll.
Souths supporter Paul Hewson was in Townsville for the heavyweight clash between Carroll and Lomax and he remembers the build-up being electrifying. Carroll's calm demeanour changed on the Saturday afternoon that South Sydney and the North Queensland Cowboys were set to rumble.
"I was with the team up in Townsville and it is something that will always stay in my mind," remembers Hewson.
"On the day of the game John Lomax was talking up the incident in the local papers and talking of revenge. This really fired 'pudd' up. He just wanted to kill him."
The game plan didn't change from the previous week's encounter with David Lomax and the Newcastle Knights. 'Spudd' told 'Garlo' where to put the kick off and the next hit-up John Lomax was out for the count.
"I said to Garlo, "kick off again and I'm gonna hit this bloke" and, mate, I reckon he was snoring before he hit the ground.
"And you won't believe it - the next week I'm playing for NSW. It was out of control.
"I came back in 1999 to play for Souths, my goal was to play Origin. I knocked two brothers out in consecutive weeks and next thing I was playing Origin."
Hewson, who was sitting near the Rabbitohs players' area with the suspended Darrell Trindall, finishes the story with a typical 'Tricky' Trindall sledge:
"The funniest part was that 'Tricky' was up there despite being suspended the week before. He was next to me on the sideline and he yelled out to Lomax; "at least your brother lasted 17 seconds!" said Hewson.
Match report supplied by Michael Curin.
Last week Souths prop Mark 'Spud' Carroll knocked out Newcastle's David Lomax in the first tackle of the match – a tackle that angered North Queensland's John Lomax, David's older brother.
John Lomax swore revenge, something that prompted 'Spud' Carroll to declare "bring it on" as the Rabbitohs headed to Dairy Farmers Stadium.
And again, as John Lomax hit it up for the first tackle of the match, Carroll knocked him out. Lomax was gone for the match, and while Carroll gave NSW selectors a gentle nudge, the Rabbitohs had the best of it to beat the Cowboys by 14 points to 2.
In a match that failed to reach any great heights, played in 28°C subtropical heat, the Rabbitohs proved they were the more persistent rather than consistent of the two teams. Despite leading all the way, thanks to a Tim Brasher try in each half, the Rabbitohs were forced to hold off a fast-finishing North Queensland.
The Cowboys scored two tries in the final 15 minutes after Souths had established what looked like a very comfortable 14-0 lead. The win keeps Souths in semi-final contention, while the loss left the Cowboys coach Tim Sheens wondering when their fortunes might improve.
But despite the late Cowboys comeback, Souths coach Craig Coleman was a very happy man.
"It was a good win, we trained for it, we rotated our big men and kept it simple," Coleman said.
"We just hit it up and kicked and hit it up and kicked. Every week we improve in little areas and it is great to come here and take away the two points, because they are just so valuable."
Apart from losing Lomax, Jody Gall suffered medial ligament damage, promising lock Paul Bowman was replaced because of a badly broken nose and Lomax's replacement, Mark Shipway, suffered concussion.
"I am as frustrated today as I have been and it all started very early," Sheens said.
"A for effort, Z for execution. It was our worst passing and kicking game this year. Disgraceful"
Smith and the other from his trademark straight running, after receiving an inside pass from ex-Cowboy Andrew Dunemann. The other bright spot was provided by North Queensland prop John Buttigieg, who played all but five minutes of the match and provided the impetus for what passed for North Queensland's attack.
Despite languishing in First Division for weeks, Andrew Dunemann was a late call up for the Rabbitohs as a replacement for the suspended Darrell Trindall. Souths had trained with youngster Craig Wing at halfback during the week, but apparently weren't confident he could do the job against Paul Green.
Coleman continually used his interchange bench in a bid to counter the sweltering heat, and Sheens used up his replacements as the Rabbitohs inflicted damage on their opponents.
South Sydney 14 (T.Brasher 2 tries; J.O'Neill 3 goals)
North Queensland 12 (B.Boyd, P.Jones tries; N.Goldthorpe 2 goals) at Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville, Saturday, May 29, 1999 (2.30pm).
Crowd: 8,751. Referee: Matt Hewitt. Touch Judges: Paul Macinante, Steve Nash. Video Referee: Noel Bissett. Halftime: Souths 6‐0. Scrums: Souths 15‐4. Penalties: North Queensland 10‐6. Goalkickers: O'Neill (Souths) 3/3, Goldthorpe (North Queensland) 2/2.
SOUTHS: Tim Brasher; Justin Loomans, Julian O'Neill, Brett Rodwell, Chris Caruana; Craig Wing, Andrew Dunemann; Matt Parsons, Sean Garlick (c), Mark Carroll, James Smith, Tony Iro, Jeremy Schloss. Interchange: Ian Rubin, Robert Tocco, Wayne Richards, Wes Patten. Coach: Craig Coleman.
NORTH QUEENSLAND: Noa Nadruku; Adam Connelly, Matthew Ryan (c), Damien Smith, Brian Jellick; Noel Goldthorpe, Paul Green; John Lomax, Brett Boyd, John Buttigieg, Jody Gall, Peter Jones, Paul Bowman. Interchange: Mark Shipway, John Doyle, Kyle Warren, Glen Murphy. Coach: Tim Sheens.
Cited: Smith (North Queensland). Charge: Reckless High Tackle (Grade 2). Plea: Guilty. Sentence: Two match suspension (62 demerit points).
Sin Bin: Caruana (Souths).
22 min: South Sydney 6‐0 (Brasher try; O'Neill goal)
46 min: South Sydney 8‐0 (O'Neill goal)
62 min: South Sydney 14‐0 (Brasher try; O'Neill goal)
65 min: South Sydney 14‐6 (Boyd try; Goldthorpe goal)
77 min: South Sydney 14‐12 (Jones try; Goldthorpe goal)