SPORTS MEDIA HALL OF FAME OPENS AT SUNCORP STADIUM

Minister for Sport, Tom Barton, today inducted three sports media legends into the Suncorp Stadium Media Hall of Fame.

Mr Barton said the Hall of Fame honours the achievements of media representatives who have covered the two major football codes (Rugby League and Rugby Union) played at this historic ground over the past 40 years.

"It's timely to recognise the media's contribution in the coverage of sport this week, leading up one of the Stadium's biggest events of the year - the much awaited and long overdue return of a Bledisloe Cup Test on Queensland soil", he said.

Part of the criteria in selecting the inaugural nominees for the Hall of Fame was that they had to have either passed away or retired from active sports reporting or commentary.

Our three inductees are no longer with us, but their contributions and memories live on and will continue to do so through this initiative.

Mr Barton said that he was proud to induct the following sports identities into the Hall of Fame:

Jack Reardon, a former Queensland player and Australian vice-captain who became the Courier-Mail's senior rugby league writer for 30 years.

George Lovejoy, who called rugby league at the Stadium for 19 years - 652 games straight - and who coined the now famous phrase 'the greatest game of all'.

Frank O'Callaghan, the journalist synonymous with the Courier-Mail's coverage of rugby union for over three decades.

Mr Barton said the sports media play a vital role in showcasing the events played at Suncorp Stadium to a worldwide audience as will be the case on Saturday night.

"These days a new generation of callers bring sport into our homes like never before due to the array of modern technology at their disposal. But it's important we reflect and remember those who paved the way and brought joy into our lives through their exciting and colourful coverage of an era passed", he said.

It's a far cry from the 1960's when Lang Park became the home of football in Brisbane and became the meeting place on Saturday afternoons for the match of the day.

If we couldn t get to the game, we would listen to George Lovejoy's call on radio, or read Jack Reardon's or Frank O Callaghan's assessment in the Courier-Mail the next day.

Mr Barton said the Queensland Government wore a lot of criticism when we went ahead with the redevelopment of Suncorp Stadium but now it is one of the most popular football venues in the country and is recognised as being up there amongst the best in the world.

"The Stadium continues to be lauded by players, officials, spectators and indeed a number in the media as one of the best venues in the world. Certainly, in terms of facilities, service and atmosphere, I've not experienced anything else like it", he said.

The Media Hall of Fame provides a link with the history that has helped make Suncorp Stadium the special place it is today.

Ministerial media contacts: Michael O Meara on (07) 3225 2210
Date 27 July 2006