Former hero Steve Singleton returns to play for Yarrabah

Cairns rugby league stalwart Steven Singleton has returned late in the season after knee surgery to play for Yarrabah Seahawks as his team faces Atherton in a 'do or die' semi final Sunday at Barlow Park.

Singleton has been playing for 24 years in the local league and recently returned from Thursday Island where he was working as a labourer for the local council.

He came back to the Yarrabah club as his eldest son Steven Jnr is a dual player for Northern Pride (Hastings Deering Colts) and Yarrabah.

Singleton, now in his early 40s wanted to play alongside his son which he did against Mossman-Port Douglas in Round 18 on August 11, where they came away with a 28 - 22 victory and ended Mossman's 12 game winning streak.

Steven Singleton in action for Yarrabah during the first semi final game against Innisfail at Barlow Park on September 1. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Steven Singleton in action for Yarrabah during the first semi final game against Innisfail at Barlow Park on September 1. Photo: Maria Girgenti

"It was great to return to Yarrabah as there is a real positive vibe and the boys are keen which has put the fire back in his belly to keep playing," Singleton said. 

"Many of the players are my relations so it was literally coming home and I slotted in well and like I had never been away." 

His maturity and playing experience has been a good influence on the team and is a good role model and mentor for the younger players coming up in the ranks.

Overall he felt happy with his general fitness level, but mentally is still learning to deal with his niggling knee injury.

Steven Singleton offloads a ball to Charles Murgha in the inaugural Deadly Choices Invitational game against Innisfail at Callendar Park on August 24. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Steven Singleton offloads a ball to Charles Murgha in the inaugural Deadly Choices Invitational game against Innisfail at Callendar Park on August 24. Photo: Maria Girgenti

He said it was a good experience to be part of other teams and clubs as they were all different.

The last time Singleton made a grand final appearance was in 2013 when he played for Southern Suburbs, who were up against Kangaroos and finished as runners up before moving away to Thursday Island.

Steven Singleton when he was playing for Suburbs in Cairns District Rugby League 2013 grand final against Kangaroos at Barlow Park which saw Kangaroos claim the premiership. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Steven Singleton when he was playing for Suburbs in Cairns District Rugby League 2013 grand final against Kangaroos at Barlow Park which saw Kangaroos claim the premiership. Photo: Maria Girgenti

While he was in Thursday Island, he played in Zenadth Kes rugby league, a five-team competition based on Thursday Island.

Singleton was part of the Thursday Island-based Roosters team who had a heartbreaking one point loss to Mulga Tigers from Badu Island in the 2016 semi final.

He played his junior footy with Ivanhoes, Under 16s with Yarrabah and Under 17s with Kangaroos. 

During his time with Kangaroos Under 17s, they made the grand final and he also played his first A grade game in 1995.

The following year Singleton went to Southern Suburbs for a couple of years where he was coached by Terry Casey before returning to Kangaroos.

Steven Singleton in action for Southern Suburbs in the 2013 grand final against Kangaroos. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Steven Singleton in action for Southern Suburbs in the 2013 grand final against Kangaroos. Photo: Maria Girgenti

It was while at Kangaroos, he was approached by Cairns Brothers coach Brad Arthur who has moved on to NRL level and is now the coach of Parramatta Eels.

Singleton then went to play for Cairns Brothers for a few seasons where they won two grand finals and were runners up in a third grand final.

Singleton also played in 1998 and 2000 Cairns Cyclones team that competed in Queensland Cup competition.

He was also part of the Cairns Marlins Foley Shield winning team in 2005 who were undefeated with a 36 - 32 win over Mackay.

The team was made up: Steve Ware, Wes Renouf, Shane Grainer, Shaun Henley, Richie Murgha, Matthew Nicol, Steven Singleton, Jaime Mcintosh, Jason Roos, Nathan Woods, Joel Reithmuller, Paul Fowler, Robbie Swain, Josh Roos, Rickie Thorby,Tony Schaff, Bruce Turner, Alexander Starmer and Victor Akiba; Coach: Troy Cummings; Assistant Coaches: Brett Crooks and Ian Horsefell; Manager: Bruce Scorey and Trainer: Robbie Miller.

While playing for Kangaroos, Singleton was a dual Cairns District Rugby League Gold Medal winner in 2010 and 2011 for the season's A Grade Best and Fairest Player and is the only player to win back to back medals since it started in 1970.

Steven Singleton was playing for Kangaroos when he won the Bendigo Bank Gold Medal in 2010 for A Grade's Best and Fairest Player. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Steven Singleton was playing for Kangaroos when he won the Bendigo Bank Gold Medal in 2010 for A Grade's Best and Fairest Player. Photo: Maria Girgenti

In 2012, he played for Yarrabah and steered them to semi finals before going to Southern Suburbs in the off season and made his debut in the first round against Edmonton before returning to Yarrabah in Round 2 of the 2013 season. 

After the four day Queensland Murri carnival played in Ipswich in 2013, Singleton who played for Kulpiyam Tigers was selected in the Queensland Open Men's team which toured New Zealand.

Steven Singleton playing for Yarrabah in 2012 against Innisfail at Jilara Oval. Photo: Maria Girgenti
Steven Singleton playing for Yarrabah in 2012 against Innisfail at Jilara Oval. Photo: Maria Girgenti

Singleton, from Yarrabah, was one of the emerging players from across the state selected in the Queensland Indigenous team, who played the Hawaiian All Stars at Hawaii's Kaiser Stadium as part of a 2016 tour which he said was one of his career highlights.

After their loss to Innisfail last week, Yarrabah A grade side must win the elimination final against Atherton at Barlow Park this Sunday to keep their finals hopes alive.

Yarrabah Reserve grade side who finished the season as minor premiers will also be in action against Mossman-Port Douglas.

Main image: Steven Singleton has returned to play for Yarrabah Seahawks and will be playing this Sunday in the elimination final against Atherton at Barlow Park. Photo: Darryl Day