|Match Date||17th Jun, 2000|
|Venue||Homebush (Stadium Australia)|
DARYL HALLIGAN deserved far better. There were fireworks, there was a muted post-match ceremony and there were autographs to be signed and specially-printed posters trotted out.
But there was no genuine out pouring of celebration and rugby league should be ashamed of itself.
At a time when the game has experienced the greatest exodus of heroes, those still playing should be lauded.
The Bulldogs fraternity did everything they could to whip up some hype around the all-time points-scoring record Halligan set on Saturday night, but the game at large remained virtually uninterested, the NRL did not weigh in with a major contribution and there were no high-ranking league officials on hand to congratulate him.
Some say it is because Halligan is not one of the great players of our time, even though his 10 points on Saturday made him the highest-scoring first-grade player in the history of the game in this country with 1978.
Halligan admits he is not as good as the man who held the record for 14 years before him, Parramatta legend Mick Cronin, who scored 1971 points in a glorious career.
It is a time span that barely rates a paragraph in the pages of history. and is nothing like the 62 years that Gordon Coventry's goalkicking record stood in the VFL AFL before Tony Lockett broke it.
Some say there is no comparison with Lockett's achievement or cricketer Shane Warne's wicket-taking record, but Halligan's achievement is equally as great.
Halligan has far fewer tools and skills than either Lockett or Warne. yet he has reached the top of the mountain. The climb for him was harder than it was ever going to be for one of the greats for whom, goals, wickets or tries come naturally.
Goalkicking is Halligan's ' one genuine skill, it is enough to get him in a team but not enough to keep him there. Hard work kept him there and covered his deficiencies.
"If you talk about professionals in the game he's the best I've ever seen," Bulldogs football manager Garry Hughes said. "You've read the stories on how much time he spends on his goalkicking but there's also all the time he spends on all those other little pieces.
"He's admitted he's not the fastest bloke on the field and a couple of seasons ago opposition teams started to target him for that reason.
"He worked really hard to combat it and he's still here now, which is a great testimony to the type of person he is."
Ironically, Halligan broke the record with a 54th-minute try. He dived over from a couple of metres but had to wait for video referee John Gocher's decision.
Halligan thrust his arms in the air and screamed when the video screen flashed try. The fireworks went off and he turned to his team-mates, who were back in position waiting for the restart before he had taken his shot at goal. This are a little culpable for the mute reaction as well. They clapped from their positions but did not run over to swamp him.
It was left to referee Tim Mander to shake his hand and Raiders captain Laurie Daley, gracious as ever, to come out from behind the tryline to offer his congratulations.
"It was a big moment and a fair bit of relief after the last few weeks," Halligan said.
"I wanted to show some emotion to get it out of my system so I could get on with the game and concentrate on what we had to do. I don't know how people will view it or compare it to other records.
"I'm just glad it's done and I'm proud of what I've achieved. I'll let other people look at it whatever way they want."
For Halligan, the former rugby union player from New Zealand. it was the end of a journey he never really intended to start.
"My dream was always to play for the All Blacks but when I missed out on a tour to France when I was 23. and then another one to Canada. I knew my chances were pretty limited so I came over to play rugby league." said Halligan, who started his league career with North Sydney.
“I never really thought about the record: it's Just something that came along.”
Halligan's sideline conversion of his try gave the Bulldogs a two-point margin as they fought to take the match and keep their season alive.
But the victory did not happen and the two-point loss left the Bulldogs needing to win five of their remaining six games to have any hope of making the eight.
Canberra, on the other hand moved into outright second. But not before the match went down to the final play, in which Jason Croker tried to knock the ball into touch in his in-goal and the desperate lunge of Bulldogs lock Travis Norton missed by the tips of his fingers.
All that remained was to celebrate a record that deserved far greater recognition.Source: The Australian
|Hazem El Masri||Centre||0||0||0||0|
|Shane Perry||Five Eighth||0||0||0||0|
|Brent Sherwin||Half Back||0||0||0||0|
|Steve Price||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Dennis Scott||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Barry Ward||Front Row||0||0||0||0|
|Darren Britt||Front Row||0||0||0||0|