Rugby League head honcho Peter Beattie has made a fresh gaffe – but at least this time his embarrassment isn’t about a lack of knowledge of the sport or the NRL teams that play it.
The Bug can reveal that overnight Queensland Rugby League officials shouted the Australia Rugby League Commission chairman to an evening meal at one of the iconic restaurants in Park Road, Milton, not far from Brisbane’s famous Suncorp Stadium.
From the moment they sat down directly under a small replica of the Eiffel Tower (pictured) – a local landmark for decades – Mr Beattie spoke only in faltering French to his colleagues and the restaurant’s wait staff.
The problem for Mr Beattie and his fellow diners and the nonplussed restaurant staff members? The league heavyweights were dining at La Dolce Vita ristorante, one of Brisbane’s most famous Italian restaurants.
“It was a bit embarrassing listening to Peter as he tried to dredge up his Atherton High School French the entire time we were there,” one QRL official told The Bug.
“I said to Peter: ‘You do know where we are?’ and he replied: ‘Oui, Absolutement!’
“He insisted on ordering our after-meal coffees and we ended up with three sardine pizzas with extra anchovies.”
“At least Peter didn’t think it was the real Eiffel Tower,” another QRL board member said. “Well, we’re pretty sure he knew it wasn’t although at one stage during the meal he did look up and mention it wasn’t anywhere near as big as he thought it was.”
Mr Beattie’s gaffes at ARLC chair have been legendary. In recent years he has:
- Mistaken a bald dwarf doing a circus promotion in Martin Plaza, Sydney, for league legend Alfie Langer;
- Told a boy wearing a Barcelona football jersey: “You’re obviously a Knights supporter.”
- Been unable to say the Cronulla NRL side was called the Sharks.
- Told bar staff at the Newcastle Knights clubhouse that he was a big fan of the city’s famous home brew Newcastle Brown Ale.
- Fronted Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood in an airport VIP lounge and begged him not to leave his coaching job at the Broncos;
- Asked Storms captain Cameron Smith at last year’s Dally M awards how he managed to juggle his amazing football and golfing careers;
- Flown down to Melbourne for the Brownlow Medal presentation and sat there all night wondering why he wasn’t invited to talk;
- Described the Burgess brothers as some of the cleanest and fairest players he’s ever watched;
- Admired the way Paul Gallen has always respected referees’ decisions; and
- Told a TV interviewer he thought Blocker Roach was a brand of insect spray.