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Community Coach of the Year: Zeke Field

An unbridled passion for rugby league and helping young people be the best they can be has earned Zeke Field the Community Coach of the Year award.

The father-of-six has only been coaching three years but has had a profound impact on so many in the game, owing to the incredible time he gives to different teams and individuals in them.

Field, at club level, is the Caboolture Snakes under 17 boys coach. But much of his work is done furthering the female game, with roles including the winning Sunshine Coast women's XXXX 47th Battalion team this year, the under 17 girls Sunshine Coast Falcons teams, Sunshine Coast Bunyas under 17 and open women sides at the Murri Carnival.

He also has upcoming appointments with Sunshine Coast women in a City versus Country game and the Queensland Outback under 17 girls next month.

Field, 35, said he was taken by surprise when told he won the award.

"I was pretty beside myself and quite emotional when I got the call... it took me by surprise," he said.

On top of recognition of the time and effort, the emotion in part comes from losing the mentor who taught him just about every life skill he knows - which he is now passing on - in January this year.

"The two people I attribute my coaching to was Mark Brandon, my junior coach, who unfortunately passed away this year, and my mentor Chris Bugden, in terms of my skills for coaching," Field said.

Brandon was a coaching giant on the Sunshine Coast, spending time at Beerwah Bulldogs, Maroochydore Swans, Caloundra Sharks and Caboolture, bravely fighting cancer over many years.

"He was a very hard coach and I didn't love it all the time when I was playing underneath him, but in terms of the things he taught me in football skills and how to read the game was just momentous in the abilities I've got now to be able to pass on," Field said.

The former Beerwah and Caloundra junior, who joined the Snakes in 2022, suffered a suspected spinal injury as a teen and gave the game away for a period, spending time in the Navy and mining industry. 

Field is now a teacher at Tullawong State High School, where he uses rugby league as an avenue to forge bonds and re-engage teens into their schooling. 

"At school there's plenty of 'tough' students some people complain about, but I have a great relationship with them and they achieve great in my classes," he said.

"Then in the community you have a relationship on a different level, being able to kick a footy with them and have them happy and laughing, because some of them don't have the greatest upbringing or home life, so footy is their escape to be able to and have fun and have mates and lifelong memories.

"It really makes it enjoyable to me.

"I try to teach them a few other life skills, not just footy - a few other things that footy can help them with.

"I've just got a passion to help girls, boys, women's, men's sides and try to learn from them and try to teach them some things."

But the award is ultimately an ode to those who allow him to go to all corners of the state to make a difference in rugby league.

"Without the support of my wife and family, I don't get the time to do this. I have six children, and without Natasha and her being able to manage the household and the kids there's no way I'd be able to go gallivanting around the countryside trying to do all the coaching I can do," Field said.

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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