Dubbed a gentle giant by those who knew him; Sawere “Sam” Reuben had a generous soul and larger than life character.
Reuben passed away on April 8, aged 44; and friends, family and colleagues celebrated his life at the service at Calvary Christian Church, 569 Bayswater Road, Mount Louisa on Thursday, April 18.
Tributes at the funeral were numerous and came from local and state politicians, mayors and the Queensland Police Service, such was Reuben’s influence on the community of Townsville.
Fittingly for a man who saw rugby league play such a big part in his life and in those around him; friends attending the service were encouraged to wear their footy colours.
Widely respected for his extensive work with Indigenous communities; Reuben was also part of the Queensland Rugby League’s representative set up; having taken on the role of head coach of the Queensland Murri Under 16 side in 2017.
While he was originally included in the team staff as an assistant coach to support Jim Stevens and to help provide guidance to the young men selected to represent their state and their people; he took on the formal responsibility of coaching the side after the untimely passing of Stevens.
QRL Northern Manager Scott Nosworthy shared his fond memories of working with Reuben, who was heavily involved in a number of the region’s representative teams for many years.
“In 2011 and 2012, he was the NQ Marlins Women’s coach and in 2013, he was the NQ Marlins Under 13 boys coach, as well as assistant coach for the Queensland Murri 16s,” Nosworthy said.
“Sam was not afraid to coach at any level of the game from juniors through to seniors and boys and girls.
“(That is why) I pushed for Sam (to be considered) for all of these roles; because I knew that he was the right person for all of these positions.
“He was easy to work with, willing to listen and stick to rules. This is sometimes a rare commodity in our game; but Sam had them all.
“When Sam passed, he was the coach of the Centrals Under 16 team and was doing a terrific job to help these young men; not only on the field but off it as well.
“Sam had a unique ability to be able to work with everyone.”
The QRL wish to pass on their condolences to the Reuben and Sambo families.