Brisbane Second Division QRL correspondent Mike Simpson went down to Valleys Diehards to see what makes the club tick in this feature.
The saying goes, “tough times don’t last, but tough people do” – and if one club fits that mould then that’s the iconic Valleys Rugby League Club.
Located in the Brisbane suburb of the Grange, the picturesque Emerson Park has been the home of the “Diehards” (at its current address) since 1971.
This is an inspirational tale of volunteers and showcases what hard work, pride and dedication is all about.
You cannot say enough about this club’s heart and resiliency to keep overcoming the adversity that has plagued the mighty Diehards since the demise of their senior team in 1995.
Amazingly though, a core group of volunteers – led by club president Danny Walker – look to have the club’s future in safe hands.
Valleys have that one intangible that keeps the “Royal Blue” alive – and that’s the incredible work of their volunteers that keeps the club firing on all cylinders.
The club’s immaculate appearance continues to be a talking point amongst supporters when they visit Emerson Park.
One thing you will notice when you arrive at the club is the impeccable playing surface. You could say visiting teams might be a tad jealous of the field resembling a golfing green.
The high quality maintenance of the field again comes down to the hard work of volunteers Glenn Delhaas, Leo Tuttle, Neil Clarke, David Jones and Ian Mansell, who spend endless hours keeping the ground in pristine condition.
On any given game day, you will also find volunteer ground announcer Craig Nilsson and Luke Gatehouse perched high above the dressing rooms in the “tower” providing that extra atmosphere for the supporters.
To say you could be at any NRL suburban ground is a massive overstatement, but for an amateur rugby league club, you have to give credit where credit is due.
The Diehards name can easily be attached to such greats as Mick Retchless, Marty Scanlan and the “King” Wally Lewis who still frequents the club.
To this day, the club run by president Walker and his loyal volunteers of ex-players such as Scanlan, Retchless, Gerry Fitzpatrick and Ron Gurnett to name a few, continues to keep the Valleys name alive with a yearly old boys get together.
Again, Walker and the volunteers work overtime via social media to ensure the Valleys spirit continues.
The club have enlisted the help of social media guru Anthony O’Brien who helps ensure they provide their supporters and players with up-to-date information via Facebook and professional photography.
Sadly, in this fast paced age, volunteers are falling by the way side.
However, one thing can be certain, the Valleys volunteers don’t necessarily have more time, but they certainly have a lot of heart.