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
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
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
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
Warren had to try to cover everything with limited resources.
The game has gone to another level with Brian with the assistance he can
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
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
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.