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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 2097..


MRS CROSS (continuing):

25th anniversary-that, for such a small community, the Greek community has managed to build what we consider to be the best Greek club in the southern hemisphere. American Greeks and Canadian Greeks who visit our shores are truly impressed with the Hellenic Club of Canberra. I commend the Greek community in Canberra, the board, the president, Michael George, the CEO of the Hellenic Club, Darryl Bozicevic, and the staff for their outstanding service to the club, its members and the community.

Mr Joe Roff

MR STEFANIAK (1.21 am): Mr Speaker, I want to pay tribute to one of the greatest footballers Canberra has ever produced.

Mr Hargreaves: Thanks, Bill.

MR STEFANIAK: Well done, John. He is actually from your electorate though; Joe Roff, that is. I first met Joe when I was patron of the ACT schoolboys in about 1993 when two footballers really impressed me, he and Jonah Lomu, who came across with a New Zealand schoolboys team and was playing breakaway then.

Joe went on to play his first year of grade in 1994. He played with Tuggeranong in the last year of the old ACT rugby union competition. That was the first time they won a first grade premiership. In 1995, we had the Kookaburras, who played in the Sydney competition. He played with them and was a foundation member, one of the few remaining, of the Brumbies.

He has represented Australia on numerous occasions. He is the second highest try scorer in the Super 12 competition. Joe has announced that he will be playing his last season for the Brumbies. I can well understand why he has taken that course. He also took a somewhat controversial decision at the end of 2001 when he decided to play overseas. I remember talking to him about that and I fully supported his reasons for doing so.

Although Joe is still fairly young and probably has a few good years left in him, he has given 10 years of exceptionally good service at the top of rugby not only in Canberra and in Australia, but also in the world. He is one try short of Christian Cullen's record for the Super 12. I hope that he will exceed that in his two remaining games with the Brumbies, the semi-final and the final.

Joe played a major part in Australia's getting the World Cup in 1999 and I had the pleasure of seeing him, effectively, being the playmaker in turning the tide in the series against the British Lions in 2001, when he got two tries in the second half. Australia won that game and then won the third test to take an unlikely title from the Lions.

Joe was instrumental in again getting two tries in the Brumbies' first premiership win. He is an excellent player. He is also a magnificent ambassador for the code and a magnificent ambassador for Canberra. He is probably one of the most well-rounded, intelligent, sane-I normally do not say nice things about backs-human beings I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I wish him and his wife all the best in the future, especially for the next two games. I conclude by wishing the Brumbies all the best as they seek yet another title in the Super 12s.


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