AFTER 21 years as Cairns Brothers president, Bob Mulley got social media confirmation his reign had run its course at last weekend’s AGM.
“They started talking about Twitter and Facebook – I knew my time was up,” Mulley laughed.
Financial planner Paul Fowler, 39, has been entrusted with taking over from Mulley at one of the CDRL’s proudest clubs.
Mulley has been the all-encompassing figurehead at the Brethren in modern times, starting with a six-year tenure as juniors president before more than two decades as the seniors’ supremo.
In that time, he’d carved a reputation as a hard-nosed, but infinitely loyal administrator who wasn’t afraid to make the tough calls.
“I felt I had done all I could,” he said.
“It was time to go and hand over to someone a bit younger. Paul will be good because he’s across the new technology a bit more. One of these days I’ll get my daughter to show me how to go on our Facebook page.”
A tough prop in his playing days, Mulley coached Brothers to five A Grade grand finals – for one win – before overseeing eight premierships during his time as president.
He also fostered the club’s switch from Parramatta Park to the current base at Manunda’s Stan Williams Park.
Fowler admits he has some big shoes to fill.
“I know I’ll be busy but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” Fowler said.
“I won’t be trying to fill Bob’s shoes but I have a few of my own ideas. I also know there will be times I may need a hand and Bob will be the first person I’ll phone.”
QRL regional co-ordinator Dave Maiden also paid tribute to Mulley for his contribution to Far North rugby league.
“He has never been afraid to tell it how it is,” Maiden said.
“He always put rugby league first so he played a huge role in helping the game up here.”
Mulley will stay involved as groundskeeper. But he hopes to find more time to go camping with his grandkids.
Though he will remain a fixture at Brothers’ home matches in 2015, when he expects Chey Bird’s squad to press firmly for finals.
Their sixth-placed finish – equal on points with eventual premiers Kangaroos – was just the second time in Mulley’s 21 years that the Brethren have missed the playoffs.
“I can’t see Brothers not making the finals,” he said. “I think last year was a bit of a wake-up call for our squad.”
Mulley called the signature of close mate Brad Arthur more than a decade ago his proudest moment at the club.
After finishing his playing days, Arthur would go on to coach Brothers before landing his current role as Parramatta’s NRL head coach.
*This story was first published by The Cairns Post.