Why Wayne Bennett banned Wally Lewis from driving Queensland’s bus
The Queen might not require a driver’s licence but The King certainly does.
During his State of Origin heydey, Wally Lewis derived great enjoyment from driving the Maroons team bus – and stitching up his passengers.
“We used to have a bit of a giggle at the way it was driven,” Wally tells David Morrow and Mathew Thompson on Macquarie Sports Radio.
“When Wayne Bennett was the coach he refused to get on the team bus because he said ‘look, I’m a former policeman, if I get on there I’m basically giving you the green light to drive that way and I can’t do that,
“Whoever was last on the bus used to have to get into the middle seat in the very back row, and after most of the players were on and that last player got on, I used to take off, I’d drop the clutch and speed off as quickly as possible, of course, the player would go flying to the back,
“The others would put their feet out and trip them, they’d end up on the floor of the bus and the guys would stand up on them and put as much weight and pressure on top of them and make life uncomfortable,
Boarding the bus was the late great Peter Jackson, and Wally explains how ‘Jacko’ thought he could outsmart the future immortal sitting behind the wheel by exploiting the laws of physics and running towards the driver in an attempt to combat the inertia.
It’s important to emphasise attempt, as Wally’s eagle-eye caught a glimpse of Jacko’s plans in the rear-vision mirror.
“I saw Jacko taking off in the opposite direction and he was sprinting towards me, I jammed my foot on the break and he went flying through the air, I couldn’t believe it,
“His head hit the windscreen, smashed the windscreen, came down and hit the dashboard, then hit the gearstick, then he dropped to the floor and didn’t move for about 3 or 4 seconds – it was silent on the bus and everyone had feared he’d suffered a serious injury,
“Jacko then got to his feet and said ‘if that can stop Peter Jackson those blokes from New South Wales are no chance. Go Queensland!’
Predictably, Wayne Bennett was not amused by Wally’s antics and made a sensible ruling.
“That was the last time I was going to be driving the bus,” Wally said.
Click PLAY to hear more from Wally ‘The King’ Lewis: