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Broncos, Cowboys pay tribute to 'inspirational' Carl Webb

As a fresh-faced teen progressing through the grades, not much scared Gavin Cooper on the field – not much except facing off against an angry Carl Webb.

(Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this story contains images of a person who has died).

In this week’s derby between the Broncos and Cowboys, the player of the match will be awarded the inaugural Carl Webb Medal.

Cooper, who later played with him at the Cowboys in 2006, said it was a fitting tribute to Webb, who passed away in December last year after a four-year fight with Motor Neurone Disease and had brought his trademark on-field passion and aggression to his personal health battle.

“In one of my first games in Queensland Cup, I was playing for Redcliffe against Webby, and he was playing for the Toowoomba Clydesdales, and he pushed the first marker and I was second marker, and I absolutely pooed my pants,” Cooper said.

“I wasn't scared of too many people growing up … but he had that face about him that he just wanted to play with aggression.

Carl Webb played with Gavin Cooper at the North Queensland Cowboys.
Carl Webb played with Gavin Cooper at the North Queensland Cowboys. ©NRL Images

“Just the level of aggression that he played with is something that I'll vividly remember … I've got goosebumps all down my back thinking about him as a player, but then as a team-mate as well.

"What he was like for me at the time (joining the Cowboys), I was only 18-19, very impressionable kid when I first moved to Townsville ... so I have got some very good memories of Webby both on and off the field.”

Webb, who was also known as Charlie, was Bronco player #98 and Cowboys player #168; featuring in 66 games with Brisbane and 115 for North Queensland.

Unveiling the inaugural Carl Webb Medal prior to the Queensland derby match between the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys.
Unveiling the inaugural Carl Webb Medal prior to the Queensland derby match between the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys. ©Zak Simmonds / Brisbane Broncos

Broncos coach Kevin Walters said the memory of Webb as a player and a person would be inspirational for his players as they took on the Cowboys in their derby.

“That pulls on the heart strings,” Walters said.

“Carl was a very good player, a great player at both clubs, so he's got a foot in both camps, but we started his career here at the Broncos, so we are going to claim Carl tomorrow.

“There is the Carl Webb Medal for the for the best player on the field and I know that Carl left a great footprint here on his not only with what he did on the field, but also off the field as well, so purely inspirational for our players.”

Broncos legend Darren Lockyer was also full of praise for the initiative, with the Good Friday game also providing an opportunity for the Carl Webb Foundation to raise funds to help others battling MND.

“On the field, he was tough, he was aggressive, but he was also – I would call him – like a protector, he always had your back,” Lockyer said.

Carl Webb in action for the Broncos.
Carl Webb in action for the Broncos. ©NRL Images

“I think his legacy and what was important to him was not so much what was on the field, it was after.

“I think for him, when he was diagnosed with MND, he chose a path, and that was to make a difference.

“He lived his final years with plenty of positivity about making a difference and I think that was the key for him about this foundation, was creating that legacy.

“I think having this wonderful honour and tribute to Carl tomorrow and having the medal, it just enhances that that legacy.

The Carl Webb Medal.
The Carl Webb Medal. ©Zak Simmonds / Brisbane Broncos

“I'm sure that his family would be proud and I'm sure he'd be proud by looking down.”

As the home club for first of their Queensland derby matches, the Broncos have a number of activities planned to honour Webb and help raise money and awareness around the finding a cure for the disease.

Webb’s family will also be part of the celebration the cult hero’s life, with his children Hunter and Brooklyn to play a special part at the game, by delivering the match ball, while eldest son Carter will take part in the Coin Toss.

Club sponsor XXXX have produced 42 cartons of a limited edition – “We Give A XXXX About MND – Cheers to Charlie”, to be used at the game and auctioned off to raise money for the Carl Webb Foundation, through the MND and ME Foundation, the dedicated charity partner of the game, while a guaranteed minimum of $40k is up for grabs through the 50-50 Charity Raffle at the game.

A ‘Line of Honour’ on runout and a moment’s silence will be held before kick-off, while fans will also be able to get Webb’s iconic Queensland Maroons ‘Q’ etched into their hair, courtesy of Jimmy Rodd’s, who will be set up in the Fan Zone on the plaza, alongside The Carl Webb Foundation merchandise stand.


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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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