*Brisbane Second Division Rugby League player feature by QRL correspondent Mike Simpson
If there was ever a player you would want by your side on the football field, you probably couldn’t go past Brisbane Natives forward Joe Malone.
This year, Malone will bring the curtain down on a stellar 30-year career as a workhorse back rower.
Playing the predominantly indigenous side in the Brisbane Second Division competition; his incredible run at the Natives is somewhat astonishing.
Brisbane Natives forward Joe Malone
First suiting up for the club way back in 1986, the powerful and hardworking forward has always been one of the most recognisable and approachable players running around in the competition.
Malone’s ethos on the field is simple, play hard but play fair.
However, injury has now struck down the big back rower and 2017 will see the end of an era for one of the most capped players for his club.
Even though at 50 (and medically cleared to play at this level), Malone has always been able to go head to head with the younger generation with ease.
To give you some idea of how Malone has inspired his team over the years, the proud clubman has notched up grand final wins for the Natives in 1986, 1989, 1994, 2000, 2002 and 2010 – quite a remarkable feat.
As one of the elders in his side, the new breed of Natives; the younger Indigenous players – listen when he talks and feed off every word when he speaks.
As this shows, Malone’s career with the Natives doesn’t just extend to the field.
The personable forward has also had roles within the club that include captain/coach, LeagueSafe and now after succumbing to his career-ending injury, president at the club.
Providing further proof that age is no barrier, while he was playing, Malone also stepped outside of the square in the Brisbane Second Division and participated in numerous Indigenous carnivals around the state.
Some of the players over the years that have played alongside Malone include former Ipswich Jet Ricky Bird, who rates Malone right up there with the best of them.
Clubman, stalwart, elder, warhorse – call him what you like – but one thing is for certain, Malone epitomises what hard work and community spirit is all about.
With a new generation of Natives having spawned over the past few years; if any one of the current players ever needs a lesson in old school rugby league, Joe Malone is your man.