There have been many high-profile signings in rugby league before – but perhaps none as unusual as a rock band joining forces with a junior rugby league club.
Internationally-renowned Brisbane-based alternative rock band Violent Soho have partnered with their local club Easts Mt Gravatt Eagles, who play in the open men's, open's women's and junior divisions, and have designed a special jersey to sell to help the club with their fundraising efforts.
The band are well known for loving their local area (they include the postcode of the Mansfield area 4122 in much of their imagery), and are keen rugby league fans, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to see them reach out to help the local club.
“The band reached out to us, as they are really staunch about the 4122 postcode and the boys in the band grew up in the area that our field Allan Innes Field is in Mansfield,” Easts Mt Gravatt Junior Rugby League Football Club treasurer Glen Moffatt said of how it came about.
“They were looking for a local sports club they could get behind, and to promote their new album coming out ‘Everything is A-OK’.
“This was before COVID, so they reached out back in February to us and two of them came to the bar at the club to meet with the committee and we brainstormed some ideas and a jersey was really appealing to them.
“It’s a playing jersey, but we are not going to play in it, it’s for our supporters and on the back, it has 4122.
“So, we nutted around some ideas for the jersey, but obviously they wanted to use their blazing skull logo, so we put a mouth guard and head gear on it.”
Moffatt said the funds raised would be put to good use around the club.
“The money will raise from it will help with our water bill because once everything shut down with COVID (we found things tough),” Moffatt said.
“We are only a small club and we rely on the bar to pay those utilities bills and that sort of thing, but it will all be used for that and the end-of-year trophy day for the kids.
“For the band, it’s about giving back to the community and getting kids active.”
As well as getting some promotion for the club thanks to the sales of the limited edition jersey, Moffatt said it had been great to share the Eagles club colours with fans of the band after decking out the members in some gear.
“They came back in March to meet us, and the next day, they were filming the video for their song ‘Pick It Up Again’ and we gave them shorts and we gave them caps,” Moffatt said.
“James (Tidswell) the guitarist is wearing the Mt Gravatt shorts in the video.
“And one of the families they go to is one of our committee members. The whole thing of the video is they are knocking on doors and going in to play in people’s lounges (around Mt Gravatt, Mansfield and Wishart), so one of them is the committee member (Andrew Fisher) and his kids who play at the club (Matthew and Daniel and future player Sophie).”
In a move that also displays the band’s genuine community connection and support of the club, band members also signed up to be club volunteers earlier this year, but COVID-19 has meant they haven’t been able to take on too many game-day duties.
“They have signed up – they were talking about going for the LeagueSafe accreditation and running water for the under 7, 8 and 9s teams, they were going to come down, but COVID squashed the whole thing,” Moffatt said.
“As this stage, there’s not much they really can do. But it was fantastic they signed up.”
And while the band have all the gear they need to run onto the field, Moffatt said they had not yet signed up to play – but the musicians had a good excuse to stay on the sidelines as supporters.
“I don’t think they want to damage their hands!”
Fans of the band and the club will be able to purchase jerseys on the Violent Soho website from noon on Thursday, August 27.
The club will also be taking orders for jerseys via their shop.