Lumley moved by passion of PNG fans

Lumley moved by passion of PNG fans

A bag of Intrust Super Cup jerseys, another filled with Broncos Under 20s jerseys, two more bags full of headgear and footy boots, two boxes full of footy shorts, balls and socks.

No, this isn’t a footy fan’s wish list – this is instead just some of the rugby league gear Tristian Lumley took with him when he and the Tweed Heads Seagulls flew out to PNG yesterday (Saturday) morning.

But this is not equipment for him – or indeed his team – to use while they are in Port Moresby; rather it is for giving away to PNG rugby league fans. And all of it has been collected as a result of initiative from Lumley and good will from his fellow players.  

Rugby league is full of passionate rivalries, Tweed Heads v Burleigh, Easts v Wynnum, Valleys v Wests; but the wonderful thing about the game is the ability to leave these rivalries on the field and the willingness for those involved in the game to help each other out off the field whenever anyone needs a hand.

While most people were spending Good Friday relaxing with friends and family, Lumley spent his day crisscrossing Brisbane, collecting a mountain of gear donated by his rugby league friends and family, including the Valleys Diehards and Runaway Bay Seagulls.

As soon as he made it known on social media that he was heading to PNG and wanted to take some footy gear to donate to local youths, he was inundated with offers.

Tristan Lumley with some rugby league fans in PNG. Image: Supplied
Tristan Lumley with some rugby league fans in PNG. Image: Supplied

He has travelled to PNG four times and was touched by the fans and their famous passion for the rugby league.

“Last year I gave some gear away, it didn’t matter how much I gave away there was always more people and I felt bad,” he said.

“I just didn’t want to disappoint anyone, so I decided that when I went back this year I would take as I could to give too people.”

The veteran of 83 Intrust Super Cup games will freely tell you that rugby league has given him some amazing opportunities; and is hoping he too can give back to others via the game.

“Mate, I’m just a painter from Brissie! Footy has taken me all over Europe twice [with Indigenous team the Yowies], I’ve played Broncos Under 20s and trained with the NRL squad,” he said.

“This year, I got to play for the First Nations Goannas and work with Laurie Daley, Dean Widders and George Rose.”

A popular figure, Lumley is intensely proud of his Indigenous heritage and reflected on the chance he was given to represent the Goannas, calling it one of his proudest moments.

“It was an amazing feeling, the connection to the land and my family and ancestors. I feel so blessed to have had that opportunity,” he said.

“Footy has given me so much and now it’s time to give a little back,” he said.

>> The Tweed Heads Seagulls will play the PNG Hunters at Oil Search National Football Stadium today at 3pm. Follow the scores via QRL Live.

*Matt Crowhurst is a QRL correspondent