Pictured: Justin's father Mick Breen (fourth from left) with the Springwood Tigers.
There are four words to describe former Springwood Tigers player Justin Breen.
Competitive, courageous, resilient and inspirational. You see, Justin Breen typifies what every local junior rugby league fan stands for and these qualities were prevalent throughout his life in which sport played a dominant role.
Justin would have been celebrating his 28th birthday this year, instead the popular Tigers player’s life was tragically cut short last year whilst holidaying in Germany. Justin was only 27 years of age.
Speaking with his father Mick Breen, you could tell that this was one proud father who spoke very highly of the former Chatswood High school student and speaking with dignity, told of how his son not only had an amazing sporting ability but touched the lives of all around him.
“Justin was very popular not only here at the club but everywhere he went. He had an infectious quality about him.
“All his team mates have shown great strength to continue playing for the club and after Justin’s passing it has brought the boys even closer. That just shows you how tight knit we are here.”
Justin might not be with us anymore, but his spirit lives on at the mighty Springwood club with the current Open 3 South team dedicating this season as ‘The Justin Breen Memorial Team’ in honour of their friend.
This was the brainchild of team manager Quinton Austin and Shaun Slater who worked tirelessly to get sponsors on board and get all the boys back, to rebuild after the tragic loss in honour of Justin.
To dig deeper into how Justin’s passing has affected the club, Justin’s father Mick has generously donated a plaque that sits aloft outside the dressing room and is touched by each and every player when running out in the Black and Gold onto the hallowed Tallowood Park.
“I wanted Justin to be remembered and I thought this was a good way to keep the boys focused on the job and also keep Justin’s spirit within the club Mick explains.”
Justin’s best mates in halfback Lathan Kopu and Jermaine “Jimmy” Thompson spoke of how his passing has touched them both.
“We just have to stay focused and work as a team,” Lathan said.
“Justin was my best mate and I miss him heaps. To not have him around the club is still sad, but we are going to try and win this competition this year as it would be the icing on the cake.”
“It’s an honour to play for this club and the boys are giving 100 per cent each week, when we are down on the field or injuries are taking their toll, we dig deeper and work as a team notes Jimmy Thompson.”
Team manager Austin goes on to say that Justin, or “Breeny” as he was affectionately known, would never be forgotten.
“Just because Justin is gone does not mean we can’t keep his spirit alive. We now have the Justin Breen memorial medal to the best and fairest player in our side at seasons end. To be crowned the inaugural recipient of this medal will be an honour for the player who takes it out.”
“I am sure that everybody that knew Justin would hold their own special memories and it is fitting to know that the Springwood club and all of the local community have embraced Justin’s life that will remain in the public domain forever more.
“The current players and supporters who knew Justin from his short time on this earth certainly will remember a mate, a confidant and an all-round top bloke. For the younger generation, it will remind them how proud this club is and how proud that they were able to have one Justin Breen donning the Tigers jersey.”
From the entire rugby league community to Justin’s family and friends,
Justin “Breeny” Breen Rest in Peace.