One of the most resilient players the game has ever seen, Brent Tate overcame multiple injuries in his playing career, displaying a determination that truly shows what it means to put on the Maroon jersey. Tate has inspired many along the way, so let’s take a look back at his rugby league journey.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Brent Tate was born March 3, 1982, in Roma, Queensland. Plucked from the Redcliffe Dolphins by the Brisbane Broncos in 2001, he quickly earned a reputation as a player to watch. It didn’t take long for Tate to earn representative honours when in 2002 he took the field for his first State of Origin match in Game III, made the Kangaroos squad and also won the Broncos “Rookie of the Year” award. Playing a total of 229 NRL matches, Tate made his way from the Broncos to the Warriors in 2008, followed by the Cowboys in 2011.
THE FIRST TEST
His impressive form continued into 2003 where he scored two tries in Australia’s 48-6 thrashing of the Kiwis. It was in this game, however, that he sustained a potentially career-ending neck injury only two years into his first grade career. The aid of a special neck brace allowed this Queensland champion to not just continue playing against all odds, but to excel as a rugby league icon over an incredible 13-year professional career.
Tate suffered further injuries that ruled him out of the 2005 State of Origin series and again at the start of the 2006 NRL season. He then displayed his true grit by overcoming them all to return to State of Origin in Game I, 2006. Game III of that series saw Tate score a crucial try that started a comeback for the Maroons. The team eventually won the game and series, while Tate himself was named man of the match, cementing his status as a Queensland Origin legend. Following his Origin comeback, Tate also again proved himself at club level as an integral part of the Broncos 2006 grand final win and was again rewarded with national selection.
ACROSS TO NZ
After announcing he would join the Warriors to play his preferred position of centre after the conclusion of the 2007 season, Tate sustained a season-ending knee injury during State of Origin Game III in that year. But true to form, Tate fought his way back to return in the 2008 season with the Warriors.
NOT A QUITTER
In 2009 injury again saw Tate’s season end after just three rounds. It was then announced that Tate would return to his home state to join the Cowboys in 2011 to the delight of many Queenslanders. While still at the Warriors, another ACL injury during the 2010 Four Nations final resulted in the third knee reconstruction of his career. Reminding the football world of his mettle, Tate again overcame this major injury to debut for the Cowboys in Round 19 of the 2011 season.
Tate continued to excel at club, state and national levels until in 2014 another ACL injury during State of Origin Game II forced him finally heed medical advice and retire. He left the playing field as a legend, inspiration and perfect personification of what it means to wear the maroon jersey. Brent Tate is an ambassador of the game, always displaying the guts and glory of a true Queensland champion.