When you mention the names Cheryl and Pat Johnson around the Toowoomba Junior Rugby League, the immediate reply is ‘simply the best’.
After nearly 30 years of seeing junior rugby league in Toowoomba, their names are synonymous with the TJRL brand.
On Saturday, the Brothers Leprechauns and Souths Tigers took the day to celebrate and recognise the contributions of Pat and Cheryl through the Johnson Family Fun Day.
In particular, the day is an annual event where the Under 16s play for the Brett Johnson Trophy.
The trophy and family day commenced in 2015 to honour Brett and acknowledge the contribution of his parents, Cheryl and Pat to their respective clubs.
Brett tragically passed away after a five-year battle with Ewing Sarcoma in January last year.
He was a young man; a husband, a father, a son, a brother and a good friend.
Brett played rugby league for the Souths Tigers and while in his side he may not have been a stand out, he always displayed a winning attitude, humility, perseverance and leadership.
An attitude committed to rugby league and enjoying a game with his mates, regardless of the final score.
That spirit of loyalty and mateship was returned to Brett through love and support in his hour of need.
Cheryl and Pat have contributed tirelessly to the Toowoomba Junior Rugby League family.
Cheryl, the smiling face greeting generations of families through the gate, is a life member of the Souths Tigers.
Her husband Pat, also great with an ice pack and the strapping tape, is a life member of the Brothers Leprechauns.
Pat is not only an FAO, but a role model and mentor to many.
He can frequently be seen giving his ‘Patty Talks’, giving players a real lift when they need it and making them believe in themselves.
It’s a unique achievement for a family so committed to junior rugby league.
Their dedication to the game is shown through the benefit of so many players regardless of what colour jersey they wear.
The attitude of Cheryl and Pat passed down to their late son Brett is a reminder of why we do what we do – participate in the greatest game of all.
In Toowoomba, whether you’re a Dane, Devil, Eagle, Hawk, Rooster, Bear, Leprechaun or Tiger, Cheryl and Pat Johnson are fine examples of what makes rugby league great.
Perhaps the last words are best left to Patty …
“When I’m ready for retirement, I’ll still be in the canteen making burgers.”