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Lenihan: Who needs Winston Churchill when you’ve got Luke Page?

Burleigh Bears coach Jimmy Lenihan doesn’t need or want his captain Luke Page to make grand speeches like Winston Churchill. He just wants him to keep leading with his inspirational actions on and off the field.

Lenihan insists there is much more to Page off the field than his 'DJ Moey Fresh' alter ego and larger than life personality. It is Page in his role as captain of the Bears that he admires just as much.

When the 28-year-old prop takes the field for the Bears against Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the Intrust Super Cup grand final on Sunday it will be with all of his players right behind him and following in his barnstorming footsteps.

Luke Page in action. Photo: QRL Media
Luke Page in action. Photo: QRL Media

"When you are picking a captain I think it is important to have someone who does everything you want from the football side of things," Lenihan said.

"Pagey may not have the most Churchillian speeches behind the line, but he has the actions that you want. He turns up to training and at games and he is on. He organises extras before training and if he needs to organise them after training he is there putting in.

"He is the leading example for everyone at the club about what a clubman is. At Burleigh, he epitomises all of it."

Page tasted premiership success in 2016 as a player but to lead his beloved Bears to another title is what he most craves most. He said the players would also be playing for their coach, whose man management skills are highly valued.

Luke Page in 2016. Photo: QRL Media
Luke Page in 2016. Photo: QRL Media

"This is huge. To be a premiership-winning captain would be outstanding and something I would hold dearly forever," Page said.

"The core of our success, for this group, comes down to Jimmy. We all want to play and perform for him. So long as he is at the club I will be at the club, and I am sure all the other boys will be as well.

"The season is done and the finals are another competition. It is now about how you handle the occasion and whoever is the best on the day is going to get the chocolates."

Lenihan had a chuckle when he related the tale of how he had told his captain early in the week that Wynnum Manly lock Max Elliott was up before the judiciary.

Page wasn’t sure who his coach was talking about. That’s because Page’s world revolves around playing well for Burleigh and his circle of friends, not the hurly burly of rugby league politics or externals that he has no control over.

Off the field Page has a following as a disc jockey of great repute, but more importantly as a character that draws others to him like a magnet.

"You only see half of him,” Lenihan grinned.

"Everyone says he is DJ Moey Fresh but he drives a done-up 1969 Datsun 1600 with a 1980s BMX bike up on top of it that he likes to ride around. He is a totally different character.

"Without being arrogant at all, he barely knows who he is playing against in any team. Whether it be the Broncos or anyone in the NRL, he hardly knows them. He just loves playing football and doesn’t watch a lot of it outside when he is training and playing.

"He is his own man and a beautiful person. Everyone who knows Pagey loves him. Everyone that doesn’t know him probably doesn’t like him that much because he is such a great player for us, but you spend five minutes with Pagey and everyone walks away thinking what a great person he is."

 Luke Page in action this year. Photo: QRL Media
Luke Page in action this year. Photo: QRL Media

Lenihan is contracted to Burleigh for next season, where in Round 2 he will break Ben and Shane Walker’s all-time record of 219 games as coach in the Intrust Super Cup.

His eyes are not on that personal milestone. They are on Sunday’s prize. Lenihan did coach the Bears to 2016 title success but he has been around long enough to know that just playing in a grand final in one season doesn’t mean that you will be back to do it again the next year.

"The year we won it in 2016 we had a lot of those players leave the club. You don’t know what will happen next year,” Lenihan said.

"There might be players leave or circumstances may change for people in their away from football life, so you’ve got to make hay while the sun shines. To get here is a wonderful achievement but winning it is what it is all about."

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