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Author: Alan Clarkson
Date: 25/09/1993
Words: 730
          Publication: The Sun Herald
Section: Sport
Page: 76
ST GEORGE captain Michael Potter spoke to ALAN CLARKSON about his 10 years in rugby league's big time. The highs and the lows, opponents, team-mates and his dream team.

Q: Have you definitely decided to retire?

A: At this stage I'm 99 per cent sure and it'd take a lot to change my mind.

If it was worth my while, perhaps I would look at it ... but I don't think I'll change my mind.

I've put in a lot of time at my place of work and I want to stay in Australia and look to my future. That's one of the reasons I've turned down offers to play in England.

The big thing about football is to finish a year early rather than a year late.

Q: You've been coached by Warren Ryan and Brian Smith. How do they vary?

A: In some areas they are basically similar but in others they vary.

When I was coached by Warren it was a few years ago and he had very little assistance.

Brian has a solid staff to help him do the job and with those to help him, he can cover a lot more points than Warren could because he was virtually a one man band.

Warren had to try to cover everything with limited resources.

The game has gone to another level with Brian with the assistance he can call on.

Q: Who is the toughest player you faced?

A: Difficult to answer because most forwards are pretty similar. Run into them and you know you've been tackled.

Today the players have reached a level when everyone seems to hit as hard as everyone else.

But as for the toughest player in my time, it would be hard to go past my former Canterbury team-mate Peter Kelly. Incredibly, he never made the major representative matches but I know he was very highly regarded by opponents.

Q: Which opponent gave you the most trouble?

A: Ricky Stuart. His kicking game presented me with my biggest worries.

It was difficult to read his kicking game and that was probably the hardest thing.

Stuart's a gifted player in many areas but his ability to kick the ball created the biggest problems for me.

Q: Who was the best you played against?

Peter Sterling, without a doubt.

Sterling had everything to assist his own team and to worry the opposition. An accurate kicking game, a step and the ability to read the play.

Assessing my best team-mate is hard. There have been so many fine players at Canterbury and St George.

Q: When you had that string of injuries, did you ever consider giving it away?

A: Yes. I had a knee reconstruction in 1986, broken ankle in 1987 and another broken ankle - the other one - in 1988.

After the third injury I seriously considered giving it away. It was tough trying to come back.

Canterbury did not believe I'd be able to come back after the second ankle fracture so they virtually let me go. I felt I had a point to prove to myself... and perhaps to Canterbury.

Q: Who was the best fullback you played against?

A: There have been some good ones but Canberra's Gary Belcher and Balmain's Garry Jack stand out. No-one really stands out at fullback but Tim Brasher is going OK and Rod Silva is improving. So is Julian O'Neill.

Q: What were the highs and lows?

Undoubtedly, those injuries over three years and the loss to Brisbane in last year's grand final were blows.

But there have been so many good periods. Winning the grand finals with Canterbury in 1984-85, winning player of the year awards in 1984 and 1991 and getting a sniff of State of Origin in 1984 when I was only 19 were milestones

Mick Potter's Dream Team

FULLBACK: Greg Brentnall/Garry Jack

WINGS: Eric Grothe, John Ferguson

CENTRES: Mal Meninga, Brad Fittler

FIVE-EIGHTH: Brett Kenny/Laurie Daley

HALFBACK: Peter Sterling

FORWARDS: Bradley Clyde, David Gillespie, Bob Lindner, Glenn Lazarus, Steve Walters, Peter Kelly.

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