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From footy to floods: Twice-hit Easts Mt Gravatt boosted by community spirit

March 6 was supposed to be the date that Easts Mt Gravatt JRLFC were going to host their first open men’s trial of season 2022.

Their recently renovated fields were prepped and ready, with more than $13,000 worth of work poured into them for the year ahead.

But instead of a game, the club spent March 6 hosting a working bee to clean up after the aftermath of the most recent floods.

When the 2022 floods hit southeast Queensland, Easts’ playing fields on Tones Road at Mansfield were inundated by water – not once, but twice.

Their dressing sheds, first aid room and toilets went under, as the floodwaters rose to a metre-and-a-half.

Now, they are left picking up the pieces, waiting for their treasured fields to dry out.

Easts Mt Gravatt on Friday February 25. Photo: Easts Mt Gravatt Facebook
Easts Mt Gravatt on Friday February 25. Photo: Easts Mt Gravatt Facebook

Club treasurer Glen Moffatt said while the fields looked beautiful and green in the aftermath, they still couldn’t properly assess the damage.

“We just had renos done in January,” Moffatt said.

“It was $13,000 worth of field renovation on both fields so that wasn’t very good.

“They do look surprisingly good. They look very green. But we have to wait until it’s absolutely dry and mow it and get it treated.

“We have two mowers and while we were trying to get one to higher ground, it got bogged down and the flood went right through the mower, so that’s a bit sad.

“It’s all a bit of a bummer after that money we spent on it. Our field got redone at the end of 2017 with a grant from the Council.

“That’s been our pride and joy and we’ve worked hard to keep it as it is and keep it at a high standard.

“We put a lot money and a lot of hours into making it one of the best junior playing surfaces in south Brisbane.

“To see it go under, that was heartbreaking. After all the work that had been done on it, it was looking fantastic.”

The club hosted a working bee on March 6 to clean up the grounds. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold / QRL
The club hosted a working bee on March 6 to clean up the grounds. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold / QRL

Moffatt said a group of Easts supporters were at the club on Friday, February 25 having a drink when the first of the floodwaters started to creep across the playing field.

They acted quickly to salvage what they could, but by 10.30pm, the fields and lower facilities had gone under.

Then floodwaters hit again on Saturday night at the same intensity.

The club lost jerseys, shirts, training equipment, first aid kits and more – as Moffatt said, it was “wiped out” and it is the reason why they went from hosting a trial game to hosting a working bee.

The club lost jerseys, shirts, training equipment, first aid kits and more. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold / QRL
The club lost jerseys, shirts, training equipment, first aid kits and more. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold / QRL

There were people everywhere on March 6, lending a helping hand – washing away mud, piling up the skip, wiping down surfaces, cooking sausages.

There were coaches, players and committee members from Easts, volunteers from the QRL and Rugby League Brisbane, and helpers from the offices of state member Corrine McMillan and federal member Ross Vasta.

But there were also strangers – people who saw the call for help on Facebook.

There was the women’s team from Mt Gravatt Vultures AFC and those from Easts’ “friendly rivals”, the Rochedale Tigers RLFC.

Easts Mt Gravatt were stunned by the amount of help they had to clean up. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold / QRL
Easts Mt Gravatt were stunned by the amount of help they had to clean up. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold / QRL

Moffatt said Easts were blown away by the show of support and vowed to be back bigger and better when the time is right.

“We thought we’d just get the usual diehard-type club volunteers that you see at everything,” he said.

“But the community spirit is great. We have a bit of a rivalry with Rochedale Junior Rugby League and their president, his wife and some of their committee members are here too, so it’s fantastic to see.

“We’ll be back and it’ll be the best playing surface again. It will just take a few weeks.”

Easts' playing fields looked surprisingly green despite going underwater twice. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold / QRL
Easts' playing fields looked surprisingly green despite going underwater twice. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold / QRL

Meanwhile, Moffatt said the club are still on the look out for juniors who wanted to play in 2022, from under 6s through to under 15s.

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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