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Bob Aldons: We’re going to talk this morning with a mate of mine who I’ve known for 40 years and his name is Mitch Brennan. Mitch, welcome to What’s In Your Garage.
Mitch Brennan: Morning Bob. Thank you. Good to be here. Nice set-up you’ve got.
Bob Aldons: Yeah mate. It’s just a chat between two friends and we’ve had Wayne Roberts on, I’ve had Steve Trifyllis on who you both know. Or you know both of those. And Frank Barrett we had on a couple weeks ago.
Mitch Brennan: Yeah, I know all those guys. It would have been easy chats.
Bob Aldons: Yeah, they were easy chats. That’s what it’s all about. It’s just a chat between mates. So mate, the first question as the entrée to What’s In Your Garage is what have you got in your garage at the moment?
Mitch Brennan: Apart from all the junk?
Bob Aldons: Apart from the junk, and apart from Jess.
Mitch Brennan: The junk, okay. Let’s get into it. I’ve got a few cars. As you know, because of the personal contact, we did have a BMW convertible. But unfortunately somebody ran up the back of Jess while she was texting, and the insurance company decided to call that one a write off.
We’ve stuck with the other cars. One is a Peugeot. Peugeot 406, V6.
Bob Aldons: You’ve had that forever.
Mitch Brennan: It seems like forever.
Bob Aldons: It does.
Mitch Brennan: But it’s one of those European cars that they just don’t let you down. They seem to have longevity on their side. It’s a manual. It’s not worth anything, Bob, the older Peugeots. But you couldn’t replace that car for what you’re getting. It’s got everything in it and it performs so well, so it’s a good backup car for us.
Bob Aldons: Do you know, there’s a theory in the motor industry that you should never own anything that ends in an “o” so that includes Peugeot, Renault, Volvo, Alfa Romeo, or Land Rover’s nickname is called a Disco.
Mitch Brennan: Yeah, but the Peugeot ends in a “t”.
Bob Aldons: Yeah, but not the way it sounds, Mitch.
Mitch Brennan: It sounds like that old play. I’m not going to get into it.
Bob Aldons: So apart from those, the Peugeot, there’s a couple of others, isn’t there?
Mitch Brennan: Yeah, Jess and I also have a ’91 Ford Ute. It’s a tray back, one tonner. I don’t need it, I’m not a tradie or anything like that, but we’ve always got a load to go to the dump once in a while. The Ute is one of those cars that everybody will borrow, the son-in-law, the neighbour, the buddy will come and borrow it. It doesn’t bother me to have it. It’s a knock-about car.
It must have done a half a million Ks by now. But it hasn’t let us down. As a matter of fact, we just used it to tow our camper trailer up to the Tablelands and back, about 4,000 Ks.
Bob Aldons: That’s a big journey.
Mitch Brennan: It was a big journey. We spent a week up there, and we took three days to get up and three days to get back. We took it easy, because that was more about fun. I haven’t travelled around Queensland for a long time. We did that, so that was fun.
There’s the other item in our garage, is the camper trailer.
Bob Aldons: Chicks don’t get that Ute’s are so versatile, do they? Most of the time.
Mitch Brennan: I won’t comment on that comment, but they are versatile. They are a car, they are a truck. That’s why we call them utilities.
Bob Aldons: That’s it.
Mitch Brennan: Because they have a universal purpose.
Bob Aldons: And you’ll know that the first utility was made in Australia.
Mitch Brennan: It was. And correct me if I’m wrong, I think it was the Ford T where they cut the back off, and put a tray at the end.
Bob Aldons: Yep. And the lady who is alleged to have fostered the creation of a Ute said she needed a vehicle to take the pigs to market during the week and to go to church on Sundays.
Mitch Brennan: There you go. What a great description, huh?
Bob Aldons: Yep.
Mitch Brennan: That’s good. Yeah it is.
Bob Aldons: Utility.
Mitch Brennan: There’s the Ute.
Bob Aldons: And what else, besides the camper trailer?
Mitch Brennan: We also have a Volkswagen CC. Which I’ve had many cars in my life. I wouldn’t call myself a car person, but I’ve got to say that that’s probably value for money the best car I’ve ever had.
Bob Aldons: And mate, who did you buy that from?
Mitch Brennan: It was a guy up the road, he’s an old mate of mine. I’ve known him for a long time, and I call Bob Aldons.
Bob Aldons: Hey. And how long have you had that now for, Mitchie?
Mitch Brennan: I’ve had that for over five years.
Bob Aldons: Okay.
Mitch Brennan: And people still today get in the car and think it’s a new car.
Bob Aldons: Yep. Great car.
Mitch Brennan: Yeah, it is.
Bob Aldons: Great car.
Mitch Brennan: It’s the CC, the Cooper.
Bob Aldons: Yep. So mate, you’ve got a Peugeot, a Falcon Ute, a camper trailer and the Volkswagen CC. Where’s the room for four of those, or do some of them stay outside?
Mitch Brennan: Well, it’s funny you say that. I bought a couch once that didn’t fit in my lounge so I extended the house. So Jess and I are now looking at doing some renovations at the house because we also want to get either something along the lines of a Ford Ranger or an SUV. We haven’t decided exactly which one yet.
But now look, I think over the next 12 months I think the Ford Ute will be moved on as will the Peugeot.
Bob Aldons: So you’ll replace that with a dual cabbie sort of-
Mitch Brennan: Yeah, so we’ve got a combination.
Bob Aldons: … utility type vehicle.
Mitch Brennan: Exactly. Something like a Ute come family car. I have grandkids now, so the Volkswagen has a permanent baby seat in the back.
Bob Aldons: Right.
Mitch Brennan: And it looks funny when I rock up at the football club and here I am a 62 year old gray-haired guy rocking up and they see the baby seat. The eyebrows raise.
Bob Aldons: Well Mick Jagger’s got a child now, and he’s what, 70 something. He must have a baby seat in the back of his car.
Mitch Brennan: Well, the limos that he gets, they do come with baby seats I understand.
Bob Aldons: So Mitch, let’s talk about something other than cars for the moment, because we’ve got another couple of questions coming up about cars. Let’s just do a really quick snapshot of the Mitch Brennan story.
I first met you when you were playing Rugby League for Souths, and you were a guitarist in a band?
Mitch Brennan: Yeah.
Bob Aldons: Were you a singer as well?
Mitch Brennan: I was a guitarist, vocalist in a rock and roll band.
Bob Aldons: I was working at Stafford Roller Skating Rink up in the box, spinning the records.
Mitch Brennan: DJ Bob.
Bob Aldons: DJ Bob. And Mitch Brennan and his band were down on the floor rocking the skaters as they went around.
Mitch Brennan: Wasn’t that an amazing set up? Stafford Skating Rink, and there we were right in the middle of the rink, and the owner, Mr. Mellon, what was his name?
Bob Aldons: Gordon Mellon.
Mitch Brennan: Gordon Mellon. He was quite innovative. He had the power dropped down from the ceiling so that we could have a band in the middle of the rink for people to skate around. And that was like what, was that ’72? 1971, ’72?
Bob Aldons: ’74-ish.
Mitch Brennan: Oh, it was long before ’74.
Bob Aldons: Was it?
Mitch Brennan: Yeah.
Bob Aldons: Okay.
Mitch Brennan: Because there are timeframes in my life.
Bob Aldons: I finished working there in ’75 I think.
Mitch Brennan: Yeah, there are timeframes in my life and it was before ’74.
Bob Aldons: Early 70’s.
Mitch Brennan: Yeah. In those days, I remember I used to rock up. I had a Valiant Pacer, or I rode a Norton Commando 750.
Bob Aldons: Whoa.
Mitch Brennan: Yeah. And I rocked up on that one day.
Bob Aldons: I could see you sort of being the Fonz. The Fonz of the early 70’s.
Mitch Brennan: The Fonz is one of my heroes.
Bob Aldons: Yep, okay.
Mitch Brennan: He’s up there with the King. Not just Wally, the other king, Elvis.
Bob Aldons: Yep.
Mitch Brennan: Wally’s one of my heroes. I didn’t know too many people that actually rode motorbikes in those days, so I didn’t ride it often because, not that I felt an outcast, but if you rode a bike in those days, people got very judgemental.
Bob Aldons: They thought you were bodgy.
Mitch Brennan: Yeah, yeah. Anyway, so those were the days.
Bob Aldons: So post the Stafford’s Roller Skating Rink in Souths, tell us what happened with your footie career after that.
Mitch Brennan: Well, I had an opportunity to pursue a music career and also a little bit of film, but football came up and I got selected to play first grade at Brisbane Souths. My manager at the time, who was anti contact sport, he surprised me by saying, “Look, why don’t you go and put a year or two into your football, because you can do that now at this age.” “But you can’t do the football later, but you can do the music later.”
So I thought that was quite philosophical of him to say that, so I took it. And 17 years later, I was still playing football. So that one or two years kind of got stretched out.
Bob Aldons: But you could always come back to the music though.
Mitch Brennan: Exactly. That’s what he said. I tried to come back to it the other day, and I … you can’t. You gotta put some time into it. You gotta keep it up. It’s like anything.
Bob Aldons: So from first grade at Souths, you played with the likes of …
Mitch Brennan: Well, Johnny Grant was one of my centre partners.
Bob Aldons: Who’s now the chairman of the Australian Rugby League.
Mitch Brennan: Well, no. He’s not chairman, he’s the Commissioner.
Bob Aldons: Beg your pardon, Commissioner Australian Rugby League.
Mitch Brennan: Yeah. He’s the ARL Commissioner. And doing a great job. And also there was Greg Veivers who went on to become the Australian captain. There were other guys, Bruce Astill, Tony Scott. A lot of old legends of Brisbane Rugby League that I’m not too sure many people would know unless they were from that era.
But it’s amazing the amount of guys that came out of the club at Souths and West End that went on to represent either Queensland or Australia. And captain.
Bob Aldons: Strong club.
Mitch Brennan: And captain the club.
Bob Aldons: So you went from Souths to the Saints.
Mitch Brennan: Souths to Saints. Jack Gibson wanted by to come down and play for South Sydney, so I went down there to train with them. I hadn’t actually signed and it was a great training. I remember that training session. It was a great session. I was so pumped in terms I was young and hungry.
Previously, a guy called Harry Bath coached me at Souths and Brisbane. He was running a pub in Canterbury, down in Sydney, and at the same time coaching the Saints, St. George.
Bob Aldons: Yes. The great Harry Bath.
Mitch Brennan: He had just won the grand final in ’77, and this was at the beginning of ’78. So I called around as a courtesy thing to say hello, so I called around to see him. He said, “Oh, what are you doing in Sydney?” I said, “Oh, I’m about to sign with Souths.” He said, “No, I don’t think so.” Then he ended up signing me with Saints.
Bob Aldons: So was that the first poaching of players? Slipped it right underneath Souths’ eyes.
Mitch Brennan: Oh, I think it went on long before I turned around, but he said he wanted to give me a good deal with the club. The directors baulked at what he was trying to set me up for. They wanted to see me play, so he set up a trial game for me to play in one of their trial games. It was in Grafton. Then the infamous Mickey Lane story.
Bob Aldons: The Mickey Lane story.
Mitch Brennan: Yeah. Because we had a bit of an issue with the club. The club at Souths and Brisbane had no money. The president had said to myself, John Grant and Greg Veivers and Wayne Bennett was there at the time, said if we cancel your contracts, will you stay with the club?
we all agreed, yes, we would stay with the club because it was a very passionate thing. We weren’t getting paid a million dollars or anything like that. But I put one proviso in, and that was unless a Sydney team wants me to play in there. Because in those days, that was the-
Bob Aldons: That’s the place to go.
Mitch Brennan: … progression. That was where you went.
Bob Aldons: Yep. That was the place to go before poker machines came to Queensland.
Mitch Brennan: Exactly. So everybody was in agreement to that. But it was disappointing to have a reversal by the club when Saints wanted to sign me and they cancelled all the contracts except for mine. So we had a bit of an issue there, but it got resolved. Saints are a very professional club and they got the right people onto it, and sorted all of that out.
So I had a few years with the Saints, won the Grand Final there, which are just one of those memories that you’ll have forever. It’s a very special occasion. Then I went on to South Sydney, which has always been one of my favourite clubs from being a kid. So I went there and we won the Tooth Cup Final, so that was a nice championship to take away from there.
Bob Aldons: Was that the pre-season comp was it?
Mitch Brennan: No, it was a mid-season. It was a concurrent competition. You remember the old Amco Cup?
Bob Aldons: Was it like the old Amco Cup? Yep.
Mitch Brennan: Then the Tooth Cup. And National Panasonic Cup and the Tooth Cup. I think we won the Tooth Cup. Then from South Sydney I got signed by the USFL, a brand new grid-iron league in America, United States Football League, with a team called the LA Express.
They’d signed a quarterback from college, he was a Heisman Trophy winner, he signed him up for $20 million, and it was like the first time of anybody in America ever got paid that kind of money. Becau