For the love of the game: David Yarrow

In 1975, a 15-year-old David Yarrow stepped on to Maryborough's Eskdale Park as a Hervey Bay Seagull for the first time. Little did he know; those steps would set him on a journey that would see him dedicate much of his adult life to the Seagulls.

With a nomadic youth spent following his banker father from town-to-town, Yarrow recalls that Hervey Bay “was the only place that felt like home”.

So, after working and playing footy from Brisbane to Mt Isa / Cloncurry and the Gold Coast, it was only natural that when in 1990 he was looking to put down some roots, a return to Hervey Bay was his first choice.

He immediately began an involvement with the club that continues to this day.

It is an involvement that but for a two-year dalliance with the now defunct Fraser Island Raiders, has lasted almost 30 years.

He coached reserve grade while learning off coaches in the calibre of Dave Brown and playing under Internationals Ron Turner (Australia) and Bernie Lowther (NZ) and later under Dean Pay.

As his sons began playing football, he became more involved with the club’s junior football, doing everything from running water to coaching Under 10s and Under 12s, doing whatever was needed, a time he remembers fondly.

He then returned to coaching seniors, taking over the A Grade side. Along with fellow Life Member Terry Lynch, Yarrow holds the club record for the most premierships won as a coach.

Such is the humility of Yarrow, he would rather talk about Lynch and others than himself. He describes Lynch as “the backbone of the club.”

“He really doesn't get the recognition he deserves,” Yarrow said.

"There have been some tough times here. In 2004, we didn't field any teams, and without the likes of a Terry Lynch and others of course, there may have no longer been a Hervey Bay Seagulls.

"Volunteers are invaluable to the club, and mostly go unrecognised.”

Unsurprisingly, these are similar sentiments to the way former premiership winning coach Tye Ingebrigsten describes Yarrow.

“He is an absolute champion,” he said. “He just loves the game and the club and would do anything for anyone.

"He's done everything at the club, both with the juniors and the seniors.”

However, it is after his coaching career finished that Yarrow's passion for the club’s history really came to the fore.

He has begun systematically collecting and organising the club’s history; photos, memorabilia and priceless articles.

He has papers from the very first meeting in 1972 to look at establishing the club, as well as the secretaries report from the very first AGM in 1973.

He has painstakingly collected, scanned and saved thousands of pictures of pasts teams and players, ensuring that the records will never be lost.

In 2013, he was part of a group that organised the club’s 40th anniversary celebrations. It was the biggest gathering of former Seagulls ever, which culminated in a gala dinner at the Hervey Bay RSL.

The following day was the club’s final game of the season and the A Grade side wore a special jersey featuring the club’s original logo with an embroidery marking the anniversary.

The jerseys were presented to the current players by many of the original Seagulls and Yarrow was instrumental in making this weekend the huge success it was.

He also runs the Hervey Bay Seagulls Rugby League – Tributes and History page on Facebook, which is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the club.

Rugby league clubs survive on the energy, passion and commitment of volunteers and any club lucky enough to have someone like David Yarrow will be thriving rather than surviving.

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During National Volunteer Week, the Queensland Rugby League highlighted some of the great contributions of volunteers from across the state - keep an eye on QRL.com.au for more stories.

Get to know Souths Logan Magpies volunteer Joan Baillie

Get to know Gulf volunteer Sorren Owens

Get to know Adam Wright

Get to know Pat O'Brien from Norths, Kerry Crosbi from Wynnum Manly and the Wavell State High School dancers