Referee Bill Harrigan and Broncos player Gorden Tallis agree to disagree during an NRLmatch.
Referee Bill Harrigan and Broncos player Gorden Tallis agree to disagree during an NRLmatch.

Bury the hatchet



AFTER being at loggerheads for the best part of a decade, Gorden Tallis and Bill Harrigan are set to smoke the peace pipe and join forces on the football field.

The pair will both turn out for Mark Carroll's Barbarians side at this weekend's Orara Valley sevens tournament after Harrigan accepted Tallis' invitation to pull on the boots and have a run.

Throughout Tallis' 12-season career, the Broncos firebrand regularly clashed with Harrigan, who is regarded as one of the game's finest ever referees.

In those days, a Tallis-Harrigan union was as likely as Batman marrying Catwoman, with their relationship hitting the rocks after Harrigan sent off Tallis for calling him a cheat in State of Origin I, 2000.

But after retiring at the end of last season, Tallis was ready to offer an olive branch to his old foe.

When speaking to the Coffs Coast Advocate on Monday, Tallis sent out an invitation for Harrigan, who will be in town for Friday's Men of League dinner, to have a run with the star-studded Barbarians outfit.

In fact Tallis was so keen for his old nemesis to have a run, he even offered to lend Harrigan his size 13 boots.

"I'd like to invite Bill to put on the boots and have a run with us," Tallis said.

"We'll see if he gets frustrated at the referees and he can see how hard it is for a player.

"He can even don my boots."

Harrigan yesterday accepted Tallis' offer to play, before offering the former Australian skipper a chance to walk in a referees' shoes.

"I would be a bit fearful if I was playing against him because I'd know he would target me," Harrigan said.

"I am doing a Lowes commercial with Gorden (today), so I will have a bit of a yak with him about it and we can work out a plan of attack.

"I might throw the whistle to Gorden and get him to referee for five minutes. It will be pretty light-hearted."

While Harrigan's stint on the field is likely to be a quick cameo, he still has a few reservations about how he will go.

"My biggest fear is that I haven't played any contact football since 1987, so I'll be worried about getting smashed," he said.

"I'll probably just stay out on the wing."

It won't be the first time Harrigan has traded his whistle to have a run.

"I refereed a match between USA Tomahawks and a St George legends team last year and gave one of the American blokes the whistle and took his place in the scrum," Harrigan said.

Meanwhile, Coffs Harbour's Brenden Pellegrino and Sawtell's Dave Wylie have been called into the Coast and Valley All Stars to play USA Tomahawks on January 26.



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