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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 11:20 GMT
Dave Woods' unseen Tri-Nations

BBC Sport's Dave Woods
By Dave Woods
BBC Sport in Sydney

Brett Kenny
Kenny revealed the story behind his departure from Wigan in 1985

It's been a week of being star-struck.

Monday night was the glittering Golden Boot Awards Dinner at the Sydney Hilton Hotel with the likes of Wally Lewis, Brett Kenny, Peter Sterling and Laurie Daley in attendance. It doesn't get much better than that does it?

I'm not into hero-worship, but Kenny is a personal favourite of mine. So it was a thrill to chat to him for half an hour or so.

He told me the truth behind the famous story of his departure from Wigan back in 1985.

Those of a certain age will remember his Lance Todd Trophy-winning performance in the Challenge Cup final win over Hull.

Remember how he stood with hands in pockets for the national anthem, then duelled memorably with Peter Sterling and scored one of the best tries ever seen at Wembley in an enthralling display?

A few days later, because of the amateurish way the fixtures were planned in those days, he was in the Wigan team that lost miserably to St Helens in a midweek Premiership Trophy game.

Legend has it that Kenny threw that match deliberately.

It was suggested he went to the lengths of throwing out an interception pass on purpose because his wife was outside the ground, backs packed with the car engine running to take them to the airport and back to Australia.

Kenny was shaving his ankles in the bath before a match

The truth of it, he told me, was that he didn't perform that night because he was flat so soon after a cup final. He also revealed that he and his missus didn't leave England until a week later.

When the story came out in Australia that he had supposedly thrown the game, Don Furner, the then Aussie coach, went public questioning whether Kenny should be playing for the Kangaroos with that kind of attitude.

Kenny ended up suing the journalist who wrote the story.

During our chat, Kenny also recalled how cold it was in his time at Wigan, particularly in the January of 1985.

One day, before a match, he was shaving his ankles in the bath.

This is not some kind of weird vanity thing. It's because the tape used for strapping used to tear the hairs out, so shaving prevented any unnecessary pain.

Anyway, while in the bath, his wife shouted up to tell him the game had been postponed.

The weather was so bad there were no more matches for several weeks, and by the time he got to play again his ankle hair had re-grown.

One person who was not at the Golden Boot dinner but should have been was our very own Ashley Klein, who was named international referee of the year.

When his name was read out, presenter Laurie Daley was left gazing round the room wondering where he was.

"Unfortunately, due to circumstances... er... Ashley... er... isn't here tonight," Daley eventually muttered.

It turned out nobody had bothered to invite him.

He was sitting in the cinema - watching The Departed as it happens - when he got a text asking where the hell he was.

Good film, he reports, and the day after he took a taxi trip to the NRL headquarters in the Fox Studio complex to belatedly pick up his award.

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