Collegians stalwart David Hallman is the kind of dedicated coach and outstanding person that rugby league needs in order to keep prospering.
When Hallman returned to his hometown of Warwick after a stint in Hervey Bay, the first thing he did was attend the AGM, register his oldest son Mark and put his hand up for a coaching role.
Each year since 2014, he’s coached, managed or trained at least one Collegians Junior Rugby League Club side.
This year, he coaches the under 17s and for that hard work and dedication, he has been named the Queensland Rugby League's Ned Australian Whisky Community Coach for the month of May.
Hallman played his juniors for Collegians and was also a tough forward in seniors for Warwick Cowboys and Hervey Bay in his playing days.
“I just really like watching the boys progress, and in particular the ones who don’t have a rugby league background and aren’t perhaps as talented,” Hallman said when asked about his motivation.
“I like to get something out of them that they didn’t think they had. If a boy is struggling to catch a ball, but after a month of working with him he can, that is the sort of thing that puts a smile on my face.
“I have always been a big believer in team sport with kids growing up, so I really enjoy it when they work together rather than just as individuals doing their thing. That is what you need to do when it comes to working life.
“Another big thing for me is mateship. Most of the best mates I have now are people I played football with.”
Club secretary Lauren Killen is Hallman’s former partner. They have three children together and remain friends.
Killen said Hallman was the “ultimate clubman” and a great servant of rugby league all-round.
“There is no-one more deserving for getting recognition for what he does than Dave,” Killen said.
“He is so dedicated and committed to the junior club, and the senior club that he played for as well.
“We just had floods come through our clubhouse and Dave was one of the first there to clean up.
"When he finished cleaning up our clubhouse, he took our sons over to clean up our rival club’s clubhouse… (Eastern) Suburbs. That’s just the kind of bloke that he is.”
Hallman has two sons playing for Collegians - Mark playing in the under 15s and Logan in the under 11s. He has coached both previously, but this year wanted to have a crack at the under 17s, an older age group he had not coached before.
Hallman, who owns a concrete cutting business, loves the game dearly. That is why he also wants it to be projected in a positive light and why he is a great admirer of Maroons coach Billy Slater.
“I always teach my boys and anyone I coach that when they are playing rugby league they are an ambassador for themselves, the team they are playing for and rugby league in general,” he said.
“I really enjoy hearing about people, and NRL players especially, that do extra positive things outside of rugby league.
“For a long time, Billy Slater was (and remains) the national ambassador for the Starlight Foundation, and I think rugby league should be proud of that. I certainly was. I started supporting the Starlight Foundation after I found out about that because I like to support charities that help children in need.”
Hallman’s children are thriving and showing immense resilience and courage in their young rugby league careers.
Killen has Retinitis Pigmentosa, which is described as a degenerative, inherited eye condition affecting the retina. She said she put her hand up to be club secretary because she wanted to help out the club, “just like Dave”.
“We are both passionate about our community and our children,” Killen said.
“Our children have significant vision impairments, so we got them into rugby league from a really young age, but even before we had kids Dave was still volunteering at the senior club and coaching C grade.
“I am legally blind myself. As secretary, I often have to keep score and that is quite funny in itself. We are really passionate about getting the kids to do as much sport as they can to give them better quality of life before their vision deteriorates later on.
“We wanted them to do well in sport. My son Mark captained his under 15s team on the weekend, he is doing the RISE program and he referees. For the boys to do well at it is just an added little blessing that comes from dedication that they get from Dave. They have that same work ethic.”
Hallman is a one of those coaches who makes a positive impact wherever he goes.
“One of the things that is so great about Dave is that he doesn’t judge any kid by their ability or background,” Killen said.
“Being involved with Collegians with my own kids and with Dave has been the best thing for their confidence and developing friendships. I am so proud of him, and the kids are as well.”
To nominate a volunteer or club for the QRL's 2022 community awards, click here.
Main image: David Hallman with his children Mark, Logan and Alivia.