You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Carl Webb opens heart for others as he fights toughest battle

Carl Webb is fighting the biggest battle of his life with strength, dignity and a big heart.

The former Maroons enforcer was diagnosed with the early onset of motor neurone disease this year and is coping the best he can.

On Thursday he delivered and signed Broncos and Men of League Foundation gear to the Arcare aged care facility in the Brisbane suburb of Seven Hills to bring joy to the residents ahead of Father's Day.

As he prepared to speak to media, Webb reminisced with NRL.com about his stellar career and the wonderful support he had received from the rugby league community and beyond.

He also spoke proudly about his son Carter, who is attending rugby league powerhouse school St Brendan’s College and finding his own way in the footy world that Webb made his own in 187 NRL games, 12 Origin matches and one Test for Australia.

Webb, who said he had already received gifts from his four children for Father’s Day after celebrating it early, said he was delighted to be helping others as part of a vital Men of League initiative.

Men of League Foundation wellbeing lead Roxanne Moates, Arcare Seven Hills residence manager  Bish Shrestha and former Maroons enforcer Carl Webb.
Men of League Foundation wellbeing lead Roxanne Moates, Arcare Seven Hills residence manager Bish Shrestha and former Maroons enforcer Carl Webb. ©NRL Photos

"It is about being here in support and I have got some goodies here from the Broncos and Men of League. I can only imagine how hard it is for people in these facilities in these testing times," he said.

"It would have been good to physically hand it to them but I understand with all the restrictions that everyone has got to be safe."

Some days are better than others for Webb. Motor neurone disease progressively damages parts of the nervous system and leads to muscle weakness.

The average life expectancy of sufferers after the onset of symptoms is three years but some live much longer.

"I am managing. My health is fine at the moment and I will just continue to do my best," Webb said.

"I am coping well. I have a lot of wonderful organisations and foundations helping. I will raise a lot more awareness in future. We have got some plans in and around that.

"I know a lot of people are interested and curious as to what is going on, and I understand that is genuine. As soon as the time is right we will definitely get that message out and fill everyone in."

Webb recently returned from his home town of Dalby to live in Brisbane.

"And that’s great. The place has given me a lot, obviously at the Broncos is where I first started," he said.

"To be a part of an organisation like Men of League which has really helped me out since diagnosis, I am proud to be a part of it.

My health is fine at the moment and I will just continue to do my best.

Carl Webb

"Geno [Gene Miles] at the FOGS, MND Queensland, MND and ME [Foundation] and a lot of wonderful foundations and organisations have supported me and I am extremely grateful.

"Ideally it would be great to get around and see everyone and catch up with friends and family.

"It is just not that easy any more, but we are still able to get out and walk down the street so I can only imagine what it feels like for people in these [aged care] facilities who are confined to rooms. I am still blessed."

The 39-year-old recently acquired sports streaming service Kayo and has enjoyed watching old NRL and State of Origin games.

Maroons legend Allan Langer.
Maroons legend Allan Langer. ©NRL Photos

He got a real buzz out of viewing Origin III in 2001 when Maroons icon Allan Langer returned to inspire a 40-14 win and wrap up the series.

In the opening match that year Webb had thundered his way to score a try and leave NSW defenders skittled like nine pins on debut in a 34-16 victory on debut.

"It was a fairytale in 2001," Webb said.

Carl Webb is tackled by Adam Muir and Brad Fittler during the 2001 State of Origin series.
Carl Webb is tackled by Adam Muir and Brad Fittler during the 2001 State of Origin series. ©NRL Photos

"It was a team full of debutants. It was my first year. I scored on debut and then in game three there was Alf’s return to win the series so it is definitely my career highlight."

Webb is also fondly regarded north of the Tweed River for his all-time wrangle with NSW prop Luke Bailey in the 2005 series. With a giant ‘Q’ etched into his head, Webb let Bailey have it.

Bailey publicly recalled the incident in awe when he first heard of Webb’s diagnosis and said he knew his former opponent would battle his current predicament with the same determination as he did on the field, a message of support that Webb appreciated greatly.

"We had some wonderful battles, Luke and I, and everyone has had," Webb said.

"Yet years later we can still support each other and have some words of encouragement and I am grateful for that.

"That says a lot about the rugby league community and how supportive they can be in testing times."

Luke Bailey and Carl Webb lock horns in 2005.
Luke Bailey and Carl Webb lock horns in 2005. ©NRL Photos

Webb also lined up with the Cowboys and Eels but remains a Broncos supporter after playing 66 games with the club in his opening five years as a first-grader.

He insists the club will bounce back from its horrid 2020 season.

"I have always been a Broncos supporter. I went to North Queensland to play and supported them for a few years but I am back supporting [the Broncos]," he said.

"Their form is down however that is what supporting a team is all about – sticking by them through thick and thin. I still believe in them.

"I do wish the best for the club. They have a very successful history. This is a bump in the road but we should be fine. We will bounce back."

Webb is getting a lift following his son Carter’s progress in rugby league and had a grin when asked if he was a chip off the old block.

"Carter is loving St Brendan’s. What a wonderful rugby league school and he is enjoying every minute of it," Webb said.

"He can do whatever he wants. He is extremely talented at whatever he turns his hand at and it would be good to see him play rugby league.

“He’s a rangy back-rower or lock forward, but not a meat head."

Carl Webb on the charge for the Cowboys in 2010.
Carl Webb on the charge for the Cowboys in 2010. ©NRL Photos

Maroons legend Colin Scott revealed recently to NRL.com that he had been fighting his own battle with depression but he was quick to reach out to Webb with his own words of encouragement. It is that care and consideration that is keeping Webb's spirits up.

"I received a call from Scotty early, nearly straight after diagnosis," Webb said.

"The rugby league community in general has been wonderful and it does make you realise how many friends you do have out there and just how wonderful everyone has been in a testing time with the COVID restrictions.

"People are doing their best, and it has been overwhelming."