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Beerwah: 44-year breakthrough just the start of goals

Every possible emotion went through Daniel Kidd's head when the full-time whistle blew on Beerwah's maiden Sunshine Coast Gympie Rugby League A grade premiership.

The first was relief when Kawana Dolphins' shot at conversion to send the game to extra time missed the mark, allowing the unbeaten Bulldogs to celebrate a 12-10 win in the decider.

It was quickly followed by the joy of being able to win alongside his brother Matthew and lead the team to victory having started at the club in under 7s.

And always in his mind was his former coach and close mate Mark Brandon, who passed away in January after a long cancer battle.

Kidd, spoke at the funeral for ‘Brando’, who was involved at Beerwah, Maroochydore, Caloundra and Caboolture throughout his coaching life and well-loved across the Sunshine Coast rugby league community.

Daniel Kidd celebrating the premiership
Daniel Kidd celebrating the premiership

The second rower felt the win was a fitting tribute to his mentor, who was sure would be looking down on him and smiling.

“I knew him well. He was a good mate. I hope he was looking down on us and helped Kawana not kick that goal on the weekend," Kidd said.

“He is a big reason that, I suppose turned me into a good leader. The hardest thing was just learning… what to say at the right time and have the boys want to follow you and have the boys want to play for you as well.

“A lot of those values are stuff that come from 'Brando'."

Daniel Kidd (left) carrying Mark Brandon on his shoulders.
Daniel Kidd (left) carrying Mark Brandon on his shoulders.

This is the year he has taken all those lessons to heart, keeping his cool in the pressure moments in the hope of being a positive influence on his teammates and fostering resilience within the squad.

There was nothing more weighty than the burden of fear they would be branded "chokers" had it not gone their way on Saturday, against a Kawana side who pushed them all the way in every contest this year.

“It comes down to me a little bit. In the past I've probably a little bit hot-headed when those situations happen and now I’m obviously getting a bit older and that and just trying to be the one to work through those situations,” Kidd said.

“We've been guilty in the past of just losing our cool and then letting matches sleep because of that.”

The 2023 premiership is only the start of a plan to set up the club for long-term success, providing opportunities for juniors right through to senior footy to make sure players don't need to set foundations anywhere else.

“I think that that's the biggest goal. It’s something I’ve been preaching to the boys for a long time,” Kidd said.

“We've been building a culture over the last five or six years to have these kids coming through and look up to us and make sure they know they don't have to leave anymore to play a higher level. They can play at a good A grade side that will look after them.

Matthew and Daniel Kidd
Matthew and Daniel Kidd

“I’ve got a young fella coming through now, he's under 7, so obviously I won't be playing as long as he is, but that’s the idea, to build a good pathway."

Beerwah Bulldogs president Stephen Hammill said the new committee appointed coming into this season took a good look at the club to come up with a 10-stage plan to help set up the club for sustainable success.

“We're sort of running at the ground level at the moment and we're still building," Hammill said.

“We've got a 10-stage plan we put together and at the moment I think we're only up to about stage three, so there's a long way to go."

Beerwah celebrates the premiership. Photo: Nicole Anne Photography/Rugby League Sunshine Coast
Beerwah celebrates the premiership. Photo: Nicole Anne Photography/Rugby League Sunshine Coast

Setting the course off the field, Hammill then challenged the players to improve their actions on the field as the faces of change.

"I told them... you're leaders now. You have got to show these kids the right way to go about winning and losing and I think they've all taken it on board. It's really good," Hammill said.

Bulldogs senior vice president Ray Ballantyne said a surprise grand final appearance last year made the playing group realise their potential, and going one step further would only reinforce the desire to help do so for the club long-term.

"The playing group themselves really came together, and the club and the committee all got behind what the common goal was and I think that was a contributing factor," Ballantyne said.

"It's very much about creating something that moves the club forward.

"I'm really big on development and giving the young ones and a pathway, not just to Beerwah A grade but also those rep duties.

"We've got a few players that have been with us that are now in NRL systems, we've got Reed Mahoney down at the Bulldogs and Mitch Jennings in the Melbourne system.

"So there's definitely a pathway through Beerwah and that's definitely been our focus as well as - not just for this year's win, but something moving forward for the future as well, to be one of those premier clubs."

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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