By Steven Doyle
An email received from the Ipswich Junior Rugby League sent a buzz through the Under 8 Fassifern Bombers team.
April 4, 2014, was soon to become the biggest date in the short rugby league careers of any of the boys.
Imagine being a 7 year old boy who lives for Wednesday night training and game day Saturdays, when you get notified you have the chance to run out onto Suncorp Stadium and play against an equally excited Centenary Panthers Under 8 team!
One of the first questions I received wasn’t about the Brisbane Broncos or their opponents for that night the Parramatta Eels. The question was “is Charlee coming too?”
This bunch of boys are not strangers to cameras and they have indeed had stories about them in the local paper. This team have played their football, since the 20th of July 2013, not only for themselves but also for a beautiful little girl, Charlee, who has been stricken with an inoperable form of Brain Tumour (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma).
These boys traded their maroon jerseys and every week this group of 7 year old mates run out onto the local club fields, proud and filled with pride in their hot pink jerseys, which they wear for Charlee.
I have the privilege of coaching this team, five of them since Under 6, and in this short time I have seen a group of boys grow into very caring young men.
The answer to whether Charlee was coming was indeed a yes! Charlee was there to see “her team” run out onto the big stage at Suncorp Stadium.
A far cry from our home ground of Hayes Oval at Harrisville, the boys were amazed with the size of the Stadium, the number of seats and how perfect the grass was with no “dips” or “hollows” where the water could lay in times of rain.
Whilst watching the Holden Cup teams play, our team was led into the Southern Tunnel of Suncorp Stadium. Nerves started to kick in and were then heightened when the crowd roared as the winning try was scored in the 20’s match. Wide eyes and silence seemed to be a common symptom for the boys about to run out onto the hallowed turf.
Ashley, Max, Zac, Josh, Harrison, Jack, Hammish and Jordon took deep breaths, fitted their mouthguards, tightened headgear and jogged out onto the Southern End of Suncorp Stadium. Thanks to a great bunch of supporters who travelled down with us, the boys’ first steps onto the field were met with loud applause.
The eight minute game flew by in what felt like seconds, but during this time, four of the boys crossed the line to score five tries, and their defence was fantastic throughout the match. The boys in pink did themselves, Charlee and their supporters proud!