Cronulla legends Bishop & Watson live in hope
Pair of Pommy Test greats have their fingers crossed for a maiden premiership
CLIFF WATSON AND TOMMY BISHOP, the two Great Britain legends who each played huge roles in the first Cronulla side to make a first-grade grand final, are pulling for the Sharks to go one better than they did.
No-holds-barred prop Watson and halfback and captain-coach Bishop played in the violent 1973 decider, which Cronulla lost 10-7 to Manly.
Both Watson, who still lives in the Sutherland Shire, and Bishop, who now resides at Redcliffe, say they’d love to be there if they do make it.
“Oh, for sure, yeah – once a Sharkie always a Sharkie,” says Bishop, 75.
“Oh yeah, definitely, I’d love to see them win it,” says Watson, 76.
“They’ve got a terrific pack of forwards who can use the ball and are tough and they've got some backs who can score a try out of nothing,” Bishop says. “We had a couple of players like that in 1973, including Steve Rogers, of course . . . But I don’t want to say too much in case I put the mocker on them!”
While the pair are happy about Cronulla’s form, they’re not enjoying the modern game.
“The crowd like to see a bit of knuckle. If a couple of players have a push and a shove and take a swipe at each other and then get on with the game, why bother to stop the game just for that?” says Watson.
“And how can a referee award a try and then ask the question of someone else, ‘Was it a try?’ I mean, he’s already given the bloody try. It’s getting more like gridiron in America all the bloody time.”
Bishop agrees: “There are too many referees and with video replays and shot clocks, it’s becoming like gridiron.”