Nestled in the back blocks of Beenleigh located just off the busy Pacific Motorway, you will find a new Rugby League club built on pure passion, hard work and ethics.
Pride by name Pride by nature, the Beenleigh Senior Rugby League who play out of the community based ground of Bill Norris Oval, are now the toast of the community after their emphatic rise to stardom in season 2015.
The Beenleigh Pride have done what not many amateur clubs have done in their first season and that’s reach a maiden Grand Final. You see, the Pride at the start of the season, barely had seven players on their books and things were looking grim from the start.
Roadblocks seemingly started to pop up everywhere as the pre-season had started, with a limited playing roster, no clubhouse or training facility to call their own, the locals had no idea who this new side was or what they were about.
Going head to head with the other local side Beenleigh Juniors for some exposure in the area, the Pride’s backs were against the wall, it had to take a miracle for things to work to try and forge a reputation that this side was a serious threat in giving the Brisbane Second Division competition a run for their money.
Coach Luke Deller, whose playing career was predominantly in the local Gold Coast competition, had taken on the head coaching job in hope of establishing something special. Talking to Luke, his passion for making things work and stabilizing a team that already had cracks appearing, he was a determined man to get the job done.
“Mate, I love this club and I love these boys. They show a lot of heart and they aim up each week and have a dig,” he said.
“To say I am proud to what we have achieved and how far we came in our first season is unbelievable.” He said.
Deller’s comments are right on the mark. In the Pride’s maiden season they reached the pinnacle of what other clubs in the Brisbane Second Division aspire to all season and that is to play on Grand Final Day.
Speaking with club President Michael Rose, he also had passion in his eyes when talking of the tumultuous time the club had at the start of the year.
“To be honest, I didn’t think we would get a side together, but with word getting around that we were a new club in their infancy we were able to attract other players in the local area who were looking for a fresh start,” he explained.
“We managed to nab a few quality players from Beenleigh Juniors and it just sort of rolled on from there.”
When Rose talks about “quality” players, he is dead on the money. The calibre of players in the Pride team are players coaches only dream of having in their side.
One notable player donning the Lions shirt is none other than captain Rhys Gorman who is punching well above his weight. Gorman has a special talent that oozes class on the field. His phenomenal goal kicking, passing game and passion with his on field marshalling of his troops, is somewhat infectious.
Players feed of his every word.
Oher notable players that have been shining lights this season have been former Intrust Super Cup player Craig Chapman who with Gorman are quite possibly the best halves combination in the competition.
Logan Brothers imports Glen Salter and David Gorman are from the old school. Their on field toughness and ability to lift their troops when the chips are down, really needs to be seen.
But like any side, there are the unsung heroes. Hooker Scott Freidrichs, prop Jermaine Atutolu and centre Mitch Parrish do their job with no fanfare.
The list could go on, but there is no need to mention their names, they and the supporters know who they are.
Also on board for the Pride this season is none other than ex Qld Crusher, New Zealand Warriors and Parramatta Eels forward Mark Tookey. “Tooks” has been a revelation for the Pride in 2015.
Enticed to the club by Deller in hope that he could lift the side especially in defence, his presence around the club has been a masterstroke for the side.
President Rose goes on to say how lucky they are to have big “Tooks” around the club.
“Mate, I honestly didn’t think he would come down. He actually declined the first time we asked him, but with some perseverance, we got our man. “Tooks” has been an inspiration to have around the club, his reputation speaks for itself.”
Sadly for the Pride though, at the start of the season the team had no clubhouse or training facilities to call their own and were training out of the local Rugby Union Club.
On game day at Bill Norris Oval however, you will see all the familiar faces in the canteen dishing out hotdog after hotdog and the can bar staff pulling the ring tops off the icy XXXX Gold cans.
But a club cannot function without the loyal supporters. If there was ever a passionate bunch of ye old faithful, then look no further than this posse. Wherever Beenleigh are playing, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be a motley crue following the Pride’s every footsteps and cheering on their local side in thick and thin.
The Pride’s distinctive Lion and colours can also be seen sported by the Beenleigh Juniors.
The brainchild of this was President Rose who states that he wanted to keep that community spirit alive.
“I saw it as a way of keeping the colours and emblem emblazed by both clubs. People in Beenleigh know who the Beenleigh Juniors are, it was all about getting the Seniors name out there as well wearing the same colours. The people of Beenleigh have embraced the idea and you will see with the amount of support we now attract.” He Enthused.
Kudos also must be given to coach Deller also as the stress of a new club and how your first season will unfold around town, surely must take a mental toll.
“It was hard at the start, but honestly when I saw who was rocking up to training and what players we had, plus the inclusion of Tooks, I knew something was brewing on the horizon.” I only did what I asked the players to do, it was then up to them to show everyone what they were capable of and they did the club proud,” he said.
So next time you have nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon and want to be treated to some of the finest amateur Rugby league in Brisbane, look no further than a Second Division game.
Pack the deckchair, grab a bucket of hot chips, a can of soft drink and sit back and watch some of the best amateur league action going around and remember to support your local footy club, you will be glad you did.