They say the bond between a mother and her son is unbreakable, and that is very obvious in the Nunan family from Clermont.
Sarah Nunan and her step son Astin may not share a biological connection, but the connection between them is undeniable and unbreakable. And forging the link between them is a passion for rugby league.
In 2014, both Clermont Ladies and Clermont Senior Bears competed for their respective premiership titles.
Playing for the Clermont Bears Women’s team was Sarah, while competing in the Senior Bears was Astin. While it may not have been a fairy tale ending for both, it was special that both were able to experience the Grand Final jitters equally and together.
“It was one of the proudest moments in my life,” said Sarah.
“The atmosphere in Clermont prior to GF day was unbelievable. The support that our community showed both teams was something else. People would stop in the street to ask how the girls were going or just to wish us luck for the upcoming game.”
Astin concurs, saying: “There was so much hype behind that day.”
Just recently, both players competed at the Longreach Sevens. Sarah played for the undefeated Clermont Women’s team, while Astin played for the Clermont Spuds.
“It’s footy without the stress of playing for points,” Sarah said.
“Watching Astin play and having a good time was unreal. He kicked like a champ with the commentator calling one of his conversions the kick of the day. I loved having his support out there; his high fives after the games always make it all worth it.”
Both players credit family for providing the motivation to do their best on the field.
“We can both push each other, and tell each other how good we have played or how bad we played,” Astin said.
Sarah said: “Ryan (husband) always tells me to suck it up and get on with it. He's more of the tough love sort of guy. While Astin can see and always reminds me of the passion and love I have for the game.”
Last year, Astin travelled to Rockhampton from Clermont every week for Capras training. Sarah drove him.
“She never once whinged about the kilometres that we had to travel, and she was always keen to see me improve,” Astin said.
“I want to thank her for taking the time to travel around the country side to take me to games and training.”
For Sarah, however, it is this time that has been precious.
“The long road trips to and from training in Rocky and games all over the state chatting and bonding really made our relationship what it is today,” she said.
“This I will be forever grateful for. I am for sure his biggest fan and while he is committed and willing to do his best I would take him anywhere he needed to go, day or night ... that's what parents do for their kids.”
So when you have a family full of diehard rugby league players and supporters, back yard footy must be fairly competitive, right?
“Astin always wins backyard footy,” Sarah said.
“That step that he does that I don't have being a forward gets me every time but I run over him in attack.”
Astin agrees: “I win backyard footy of course but it's always a really close game. She tackles harder and runs harder but I'm smarter about it. I think about my next move before she does.”
Whoever wins, there’s bound to be a lot of laughs, maybe some bruising, but plenty of memories cementing this remarkable relationship.