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In the spotlight: Matt Moore

"Don't change" – that was the message Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup coach Paul Boase gave to Matt Moore when he made him the Western Clydesdales captain for 2023.

Born and bred in Toowoomba, Moore started playing rugby league for Toowoomba Valleys in under 6s.

It’s been a stop-start journey for the teenager since then, but it certainly reached a new high last week when Moore led the Clydesdales out for their Round 1 clash with the Wide Bay Bulls – a game they went on to win 32-26 in Kingaroy.

As a talented all-round athlete, rugby league has not always been Moore’s first sport of choice. But he now believes it is his future.

“I started at Valleys when I was in under 6s and I played until I was about under 10s,” Moore said.

“I had a break for a couple of years and did other sports - touch footy, soccer, cricket, union - and then came back when I was in under 14s.

“I just wanted to try something else. But I came back because my Valleys coach (Rob Fenwick) wanted a half so he asked me to come back and play again so I did that in 14s.

“I did miss it... I was certainly very keen to come back.

“I’m still playing other sports as well - touch footy, golf - but I would like this to be in my future, if that opportunity comes around.”

Matt Moore. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
Matt Moore. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL

In his first year with the Clydesdales, Moore was shocked when Boase asked him to be the captain for season 2023.

But it says a lot about his character and skill level as to how he is viewed among the club. And exactly why the main message to him was “don't change”.

“It was unexpected,” the fullback said.

“I certainly wasn’t expecting it in the first year but it was a really good opportunity.

“When he told me about it, he just said, ‘don’t change’. Just because I get named captain, don’t change who I am as a player, who I am on the field and off of it.

“I’m not the loudest guy in the team, not the most dominant guy, but always encouraging people.

“I’m not getting up people when they’re doing something wrong but trying to keep everyone happy with each other.”

What a weapon: Braithen Scott

For Moore, the best example he has as a leader and a strong influence within the game is Fenwick, the man who brought him back to rugby league four years ago.

“He’s the one who pushed me to keep playing and go on with it a bit,” Moore said of his Valleys coach.

“He’s just always been encouraging. When I changed positions into the halves, he was the one helping me out, even when I had struggles with a new position or new team.

“He’s always helping out with just the little things.”

And Moore certainly has no regrets about coming back, especially as he tackles the new Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup season and his new role as captain.

The Western Clydesdales will look to go for back-to-back wins this Saturday when they take on the Ipswich Jets at their home ground at Clive Berghofer Stadium.

In Round 4 they will once again play on home turf, but this time as a curtain-raiser to the club’s Hostplus Cup team – the first time the Clydesdales have been back at this level since 2006.

For a young man who views his future as being in rugby league, it’s not only going to be a historic moment, but it now represents all the pathways that are available in Toowoomba and the southwest region.

“It’s huge. It’s given everyone from Toowoomba and the surrounding areas an opportunity,” Moore said.

“It’s just completely new, it’s different. It’s massive. It’s like you’re living in Brisbane or Sydney.

“You get all those opportunities now and they’re right here, especially with the (Canterbury-Bankstown) Bulldogs being a feeder club.

“Everyone wants to play NRL. That would be the big thing for me. I’d love to one day get a contract with the Bulldogs. That’s the first step.”

Acknowledgement of Country

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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