Queensland Rugby League today pays tribute to former Gold Coast rugby league administrator Peter McGrath, who passed away earlier this month.
While serving as the chairman of the Gold Coast Junior Rugby League, McGrath was instrumental in the growth of the game in the region during the 2000s.
He saved the Runaway Bay Leagues Club from a precarious financial position, and fought hard to help establish a senior rugby league competition on the Gold Coast to further bolster the region’s pathways.
Former Queensland Rugby League chairman Peter Betros worked alongside McGrath on many initiatives, projects and issues during his time with the then Southern Division and South East Division.
“Junior league was his passion,” Betros said.
“It was all about junior rugby league and creating pathways for kids to achieve their potential.
“That was his aim, and he could see the future there on the Gold Coast and he worked enthusiastically to make sure it happened.
“He was one of the old school guys, he was in it for the good of the game and the growth of rugby league.
“He devoted a big part of his life to the game.”
Betros described McGrath as a “very driven” man who also succeeded in real estate.
“Once he set off on a project he made sure it went through to fruition,” Betros said.
“He didn’t suffer fools at all. He had his arguments with people but he always had the right aim in mind with the policies that he implemented.”
Tired of losing promising local junior players to the Group 18 competition run by the New South Wales Country Rugby League, McGrath got together with the right people to help start the senior Gold Coast league.
“He was just a visionary, and he could see that there was huge potential for rugby league on the Gold Coast,” Betros said.
“Initially, there was nowhere for all these good kids to go. They were playing juniors and getting to 16 and 17 years of age and there was nowhere for them to go, so we were losing a lot of kids in those age groups.
“Now there are pathways through Burleigh and Tweed in the statewide competitions.
“He was on the bid team with the Gold Coast Titans as well because he could see that there had to be a pathway for juniors to come through into local senior clubs and into the Titans.
“He was instrumental in setting up that pathway too. He was very close to Michael Searle and John Cartwright (at the Titans).”
McGrath was 74. He is survived by wife Judith and their four children – Mary-Catherine, Debra, Michael and Ashley.