Fax old boys head to the southern hemisphere

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“Neighbours” may well be an Australian TV soap programme but it is topical as far as former Halifax players are concerned.

No sooner had Richard Smith and his wife Kylie moved in next door to Karen and Greg Austin in the northern suburbs of Sydney that news arrived from sunny Perth that Michael Jackson and Daio Powell can these days lean over the garden fence and exchange fond reminisces about life at Thrum Hall.

Jackson was back home at Christmas to see his mother but has since returned Down Under where he has a business manufacturing wrought iron fences and gates.

Powell too has his own business, in his case fitting suspended ceilings in offices, whilst Jason Ramshaw, Martin Wood and Andy Bowman are all in the same neck of the woods.

When you remember that Carl Briggs is happily tootling around the Gold Coast combining helping to coach the Burleigh Bears with driving a refrigerated truck there could well be a Fax Old Boys team waiting to be assembled in Oz although Gary Widdop may well not be overjoyed at the suggestion that Malcolm Reilly might coach the side!

Powell and Briggs were part of an avid Leeds United fan club which existed in the Halifax dressing room at one time along with Karl Harrison.

Remember “Clubcall”, the sports telephone information service which was popular before the advent of the internet?

Powell must have spent a fortune on the line to them after training every day. Not on the club phone I hasten to add.

Jackson suffered from having what a former colleague described the other week as “having a 15 stone body in a twelve stone frame”.

His second home in his playing days was the gym owned by Dick Jasiewicz near his then house in Dewsbury. He would have been ideally suited to a modern day full time training environment.

He was also one of the few rugby league players (in those days anyway) who earned a living outside the game as a model.

The other common denominator between Jackson, Briggs and Powell is Sheffield Eagles.

Jackson surprisingly moved there at the end of the 1997 season after turning down the offer of a new contract at Halifax and professed himself disappointed by the way in which he was treated although he wasn’t the only one at the time to be disgruntled. As an international player he felt that he deserved more money.

As it was he went to Wembley the following May in the Challenge Cup final alongside other former Halifax players like Johnny Lawless, Dave Watson and Wood.

Powell didn’t have the satisfaction of that after following Jackson down the M1 the following year. Inside 12 months the Eagles had merged with Huddersfield, Powell found himself surplus to requirements and eventually found himself at a Harrison coached Keighley Cougars.