Souths Logan Magpies will honour 10 of their greatest players at a Hall of Fame evening being held later this month, and former star fullback with the club Gary Belcher is thrilled to be part of the event.
Belcher – who also played rugby league with Canberra Raiders, Castleford, Queensland and Australia – was named in the club’s Team of the Century alongside Mal Meninga, Bruce Astill, John Grant, Mitch Brennan, Greg Veivers, Mick Veivers, Chris Phelan and Wayne Bennett – with his fellow living members of that team also being inducted on the night.
Women’s rugby league legend Karyn Murphy will also be honoured.
“It is very nice and I am quite chuffed to be inducted; obviously, there wasn’t too many great fullbacks around, and I got the nod,” Belcher said.
“I am in illustrious company, there are some real champions of the game.
“I think it says something about the club that everyone is excited to make themselves available to go, it’s a wonderful club and still is in so many ways.”
For Belcher, the club holds a special place in his heart, with his time developing his skills at the club helping to launch his successful rugby league career.
“I am actually a Souths junior, so that was my club right from when I was about six and I couldn’t think of anywhere else to be celebrating something like this. I have got lots of memories,” Belcher said.
“The juniors are at Acacia Ridge and I grew up out there and my hope was always to make it into grade and then make it into first grade, so that was good memories for me, looking up to the likes of Bruce Astill and Johnny Grant who were stars at the time and to be able to play next to Bruce and Mal and the likes and go on and win a comp there before we headed south was really important.
“Bob McCarthy was the coach when I was there as well as Wayne, and Bob McCarthy had a massive effect on the club, bringing that real club feel and camaraderie to the place.
“We all trained together; every Tuesday night was club night, so everyone at the club knew each other and it didn’t feel like we were segregated into firsts or seconds or thirds.
“I think there is a healthy respect there from other clubs in Brisbane Rugby League for what (the Magpies) have achieved.”
For Souths Logan Magpies CEO Jim McClelland, a Hall of Fame to recognise their outstanding players and staff has been a long time coming.
“It’s inducting the surviving nine players that were selected in the (club’s) Team of the Century in 2008,” McClelland said. “Wayne Bennett is obviously the coach of that team.
“It should be a really good night.
“It’s probably something that is long overdue at Souths, because we are a 113-year old club this year and we’ve never really looked at a Hall of Fame.
“We have also got Karyn Murphy; Karyn has been inducted (in the club’s women’s Hall of Fame), but we felt that Karyn really needed to be inducted in front of that audience with those players, because while she has never played with those guys, she is the equivalent of them in women’s footy, so we wanted to make it special for her.
“We are also going to induct a volunteer as well, that was Mal Meninga’s idea, that is wasn’t just about the teams and the players, but it was also about the volunteers.
“That will be a surprise announcement; it will be well and truly due and it will be a big one for that person.
“Everyone is coming … (there will be) a lot of talented football players in that room.
“They all wore the black-and-white jumper and most of them represented Queensland and Australia, so it’s an exciting night.”
The Souths Hall of Fame Evening is a semi-formal dinner (two-course meal with three-hour drinks package) will be held at Davies Park on Friday, April 30 and will be hosted by Steve Haddan.
Tickets are $150 and can be purchased on the Souths Logan Magpies website. Ticket sales close today, April 16.