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BHP Coach of the Year 'all about inclusion'

"I think I've done around 20,000 kilometres for football in four years."

To put that into perspective, that's the equivalent of driving from Brisbane to Darwin and back, three times... but for Mount Isa's Nigel Tremain, the kilometres are just a small element of his contribution to junior rugby league in the north.

Beginning his coaching journey in 2016, Tremain has been heavily involved in the North Queensland Country and Queensland Outback junior programs during the past few years, but his over and above dedication to Mount Isa Rugby League this season has seen him named the 2020 BHP Community Coach of the Year.

Noticing a decline in the number of participants in the under 15 and 17 age groups this year, Tremain persisted with getting to the source of the problem.

He discovered most kids weren't happy with the times and days they were playing, so he drafted up a survey to find out the most ideal time they wanted to play and then devised a city versus country concept that took all of the kids' ideas into account.

What happened next was incredible.

Players came from everywhere to be involved... the concept even attracted more than 40 girls to begin playing LeagueTag.

"Nigel is all about inclusion... it's not about winning for him," Mount Isa Rugby League secretary Renee Bonnor said when nominating Tremain.

"He wants kids to get out on the field and enjoy themselves and he makes it a safe and fun environment for all involved.

"It has been an absolute honour to watch Nigel bring the game back from the brink of extinction."

Surprised by a phone call by Queensland Maroons utility Harry Grant, Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons centre Julia Robinson and QRL North region manager Scott Nosworthy, Tremain was honoured to receive the award.

BHP Community Coach of the Year - Nigel Tremain

"I appreciate the recognition," the award-winning coach said.

"Obviously, I don't get into it for that. I'm very grateful for whoever [nominated] me for the award.

"We have a lot of talent out here [in Mount Isa] and we need to support the kids and that's what it's all about for me anyway."

First involved with rugby league as a player at aged 13, he first gave coaching a go when his son's team needed help and has grown into a regular representative junior coach.

This includes enduring the annual 32-hour one-way bus trip from Mount Isa to the Sunshine Coast with the Queensland Outback teams.

"I got involved through my son... that's how I got into it," Tremain said.

"There's a lot of work and hours that go into it, but there's a lot of reward as well.

"I think I've done around 20,000 kilometres for rep football in my four years... there's been plenty of times on the bus.

"But we get to go everywhere... we went to Atherton last year, Longreach, Coolum... we go all over the place and just to see the kids and the effort they put in... it's rewarding.

"You need kids out here to get exposure and that's the biggest thing we're trying to push.

"The [honour] is much-appreciated and I'm lost for words."

 

🏈CITY vs COUNTRY / LAST GAME FOR 2020 🏈 Come down this Friday night from 5.15pm and catch some of the best Football...

Posted by Mount Isa Rugby League on Monday, September 14, 2020

BHP manager corporate affairs – community Jasmine Cadd said they were honoured to recognise coaches like Tremain. 

"BHP is proud to support community rugby league in Queensland and help recognise the hard-working coaches who dedicate countless hours each week to keep their local club thriving," Cadd said.

"2020 has been a tough year for everyone, but the resilience shown by rugby league clubs across Queensland to return safely after the COVID-19 pandemic has been inspirational. 

“It has been a privilege to read the contributions community coaches have made this season.

"Although it was tough to single out a winner for this year's inaugural honour, the hours of dedication Nigel put in to develop the City v Country concept in Mount Isa to reinvigorate the game was nothing short of amazing.

"Coaches like Nigel are truly the lifeblood of the community and we couldn't be more proud to recognise these volunteers through the BHP Community Coach of the Year award."