Chris “Choppy” Close is well remembered for his hard-hitting rugby league style and he doesn’t intend holding back either when he gets in the Audi Centre Weetwood spirit on Friday, September 25.

The former explosive Queensland State of Origin and Australian Test centre will be a guest of Toowoomba Turf Club at this year’s The TAB Calcutta Sportsman’s Lunch.

Chris will join Alan Thomas and MC Chris Bombalas as a guest speaker at the September 25 Clifford Park function.

He has declared no subject will be off limits when he shares his life and sporting thoughts with the pre-Weetdood-race-day crowd.

Cunnamulla-born Chris is no stranger to Toowoomba and Clifford Park.

He has been on previous football-related trips up The Range and has a connection to the city through his friendship with Toowoomba trainers Alyssa and Troy Sweeney and their families.

Chris starred in 14 State of Origin matches for Queensland and played four Tests for Australia during one of the sport’s golden eras.

He also enjoyed a stint as Queensland State of Origin team manager where he memorably gave New South Wales coach Phil Gould the “finger” following a Maroons’ victory.

Chris will happily recount his memories from that night and share his colourful opinion of Gould during the lunch chat.

He’ll also offer some hard-hitting and surprising thoughts on the current state of the NRL and the “worrying” future of rugby league.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to Toowoomba with Alan Thomas and Chris Bombolas and sharing some of my memories and thoughts during the afternoon,” Chris said.

“You can never be sure what crops up on the day but I’ll answer anything I’m asked and I’m not really one to hold back with my opinions.

“There’ll be nothing offensive but I’ll certainly say what I think.

“There might be a bit of colourful language occasionally, and a lot of it won’t be politically correct.

“I’ve got lots of great memories to look back on including playing four Tests for Australia which I was pretty happy about.

“But I’m not a great NRL fan these days and I’ve got some strong thoughts on where I think it’s letting the game of rugby league down now.”

The Sportsman’s Lunch will begin at noon in the Clive Berghofer Grande Atrium.

Tickets are $95 per person and include a premium two-course lunch.

For more details and bookings go to

By Glen McCullough