A spur of the moment decision to stop in to the leagues club for one more beer on the way home quickly morphed into 30 years of service for long-serving Norths Devils volunteer Peter Fraser.
Fraser, who has stepped down from his role as president at the senior level of the club, still plans to keep busy with all things Devils and will remain a member of the board. He will also continue with his role as president and treasurer with the juniors and president of the club’s Old Boys association.
“About 40 years ago … I pulled into Norths one night looking for a watering hole on the way home to have another beer and Bobby Bax (legendary Brisbane Rugby League player and coach), who I knew very well, asked me if I was interested in joining the committee and I have been there ever since,” Fraser said of how he got started with administration at the Devils.
However, his association with the club started even before that, pulling on the boots with the club as a junior.
“I started playing football at Norths when I was 16 years of age… myself and a couple of mates... I lived at Shorncliffe and a couple of mates lived at Boondall and Deagon and we used to get the train up to Nundah every Tuesday and Thursday evening for training and get the train home… that was 60 years ago,” Fraser said.
Since then, Fraser, who got his first start in rugby league administration after finishing up his playing during with Ivanhoes in North Queensland as young man, has seen the Devils expand and grow across all areas of the game.
“One of my main objectives is to make sure the club is viable going forward and keep it viable,” Fraser said.
“We have just finished doing a renovation to the leagues club, which I never thought would get done in my time and it’s firing along on all cylinders at the present time.
“All the renovations we have done down there; new dressing rooms, new gymnasium, new machinery sheds and new office complex … we want to just keep the ball rolling and keep up the improvements.”
Fraser is one of the rare people to be bestowed with life membership of the Norths’ senior club, Norths juniors and the Devils’ Old Boys, an honour which reflects his level of commitment and time invested into the club.
“I was lucky... I retired fairly early in life and so I became involved with the juniors about 20 years ago when they were looking for someone to help them out down there and three of us from the senior committee went down there to give them a hand, the other two personnel left and I am the only silly bugger still there and I am still there now,” Fraser joked of his beginnings with the juniors at the club.
“I said if I was going to be involved with it, I would be the treasurer and I am still the president and still the treasurer 20 years on.
“It’s a bit embarrassing sometimes at the juniors when someone comes along and they say to you, ‘I want to register my son to play in the under 6s’ and then they say to you, ‘you were here when I was playing’, so that gets a bit embarrassing.”
This season, Fraser has been enjoying the good form of the club’s Intrust Super Cup side who have established a strong lead at the top of the competition ladder, winning 13 of 14 games going into this weekend’s Round 15 matches.
“I am really, really pleased... it takes a long time to put a formidable team on the paddock, it’s something you just can’t do overnight and we are really pleased with the way things are going there,” Fraser said.
More than winning, however, it's the growth of the juniors – including the addition of girls to the playing rosters – that provides Fraser with the most satisfaction.
“When I got involved with juniors, we only had six teams and this year we have 28 teams, so I get more enjoyment out of that," Fraser said.
“When I took over as treasurer, we were in the red and now we have done a lot of improvements down there … so the juniors are very financial and going forwards, when I leave, it is set up for someone to take over, I like to see it left in a better way to when I started.”
When asked why he had chosen to devote so much of his life to the club and the game of rugby league, it came back to a common answer – it’s all about the people.
“My family was never involved in rugby league, but I played rugby league in primary school and high school and I just liked it,” Fraser said.
“Along the way I have made a lot of good friends … I have made lifelong friends with a lot of good people.”
Incoming Norths president Michael Crutcher said Fraser was an iconic figure at the Devils.
“Over almost a century, the Devils have benefited from some long-standing figures who have had such a huge influence on the club - Bob Bax is one of those and Peter Fraser’s contribution has also been remarkable,” Crutcher said.
“He is tireless in his work for the club on all levels, and he’s done it all without ever being paid a cent for his work. Peter is a much-loved figure and we’re grateful that he will still be a board member and continue to provide his assistance and advice.”
Current members of the Devils seniors committee are Michael Crutcher (president), Kevin Carmichael, Peter Fraser, Terry Reader and Lester Waugh.
Main image: Peter Fraser presents Norths Devils life membership to Kev Carmichael. Photo: Supplied