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L-R: Souths Sunnybank president Neil Shave, secretary Donna Tobin, and vice-president Steve Day.

A big-hearted gesture by Souths Sunnybank Magpies has enabled one of the club’s oldest rivals to survive and prosper in a time of crisis.

When the February floods hit Brisbane earlier this year many rugby league clubs were devastated.

One of those was Brothers St Brendan’s, who have been unable to play at their home venue this year due to the flood damage.

Souths Sunnybank - which has won the XXXX Community Club Award for the month of June - reached out to allow Brothers St Brendan’s and their eight teams to play at their own home ground after initially providing assistance at a flood clean-up working bee and with training facilities.

Souths Sunnybank vice-president Steve Day said the partnership had brought both clubs together.

L-R: Souths Sunnybank president Neil Shave, secretary Donna Tobin, and vice-president Steve Day.
L-R: Souths Sunnybank president Neil Shave, secretary Donna Tobin, and vice-president Steve Day.

“It has meant a lot to us to have St Brendan’s there with us. It has been good for everyone,” Day said.

“They are the closest club to us and have been our closest rivals for a long time. It has always been a local derby with them and now we have them sharing our fields.

“We have invited all their kids to our presentation day at our cost and we have a ‘thank you’ night where we invite all our volunteers along, and we have invited all their volunteers as well.

“It is a nice story. Everything about it has been great.”

Under 6 Brothers St Brendan's and Souths Sunnybank players together.
Under 6 Brothers St Brendan's and Souths Sunnybank players together.

Souths Sunnybank are making great strides on and off the field due to their progressive outlook. They have girls playing in the younger boys age groups, but no female teams. That is set to change after a new dressing shed that caters for female participants was completed.

The sheds cost more than $500,000, facilitated by a state government grant, which will enable the club to grow and be more inclusive.

“It gives us the ability to have girls’ teams and that’s fantastic,” Day said.

“We had a girls team in conjunction with Easts a couple of years ago and they won the comp but we weren’t able to do that this year.

“It is going to be very exciting for us to have girls teams playing with us next year and it is going to grow the club in a great way.”

The club has installed a new scoreboard and fitted their gymnasium out and have received a $90,000 grant from council for upgrades to terraces and drainage.

Day said the club had made excellent progress financially in recent years due to the hard work and unity of all.

The hard work is driven by club secretary Donna Tobin.

“Donna is a real force to be reckoned with,” Day said.

“I have been involved with surf lifesaving, swimming and been president of an AFL club and a coach in cricket, but in all my time I have never known anyone to work as hard as Donna does. She is the backbone of the club.”

Souths Sunnybank and Brothers St Brendan at an Under 7s gala day together.
Souths Sunnybank and Brothers St Brendan at an Under 7s gala day together.

Day and club president Neil ‘Bronco’ Shave - both life members - have a long history at the club and have reunited after playing at Souths Sunnybank as juniors.

“We played juniors together and we came back on board,” Day said.

“We rallied the troops and we are really firing as a club. It is a great place to be.”

The club has made sure it spends its finances wisely, which is evident in the pristine playing surface.

“We are spending up to $35,000 on our field and it would be as good as any Brisbane club,” Day said.

“We get comments on that all the time and we now have field hire partners that are bringing in funds and enabling us to provide a great facility for our players.”

Souths Sunnybank was the junior club of Queensland Maroons legends such as Johnathan Thurston, Mark Coyne and Lote Tuqiri.

The Magpies currently have 15 teams from under 6s to open age groups, and are set to grow further.

“We have found our niche in the market and really got back to our roots of being a genuine family club,” Day said.

“We have got really good people through our coaches and managers and we upskill them. We are growing in numbers and are going to focus even more next year on our six, seven and eight-years age groups.

“Our managers are so important to making sure you’ve got your volunteers, first aid, duty officials and canteen helpers. We’ve got a great bunch of helpers so we have a fun and safe place for kids to be.”

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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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