5 hours ago
Off the Wall
My first column for 2011 needs to be about the impact of the disastrous floods in Queensland on rugby league - and how magnificently the rugby league community have responded to it.
Some of rugby league's strongest areas have been hard hit by the floods - and not just in Brisbane. Ipswich, Rockhampton, Emerald and Dalby have long had a strong league presence - and have produced some of the games finest players over the last 100 years or so.
The area between Brisbane and Ipswich - Goodna etc - suffered the greatest devastation in the floods...and Goodna has a strong rugby league community from junior teams to senior clubs.
Dozens of rugby league clubs have suffered massive damage to their playing fields and club houses, and some will really struggle to be up and running for the 2011 season.
Well the rugby league community has really come to their aid - and to the aid of home owners and businesses devastated by the floods.
I am reluctant to single anyone out for assistance...but the Bulldogs have been truly outstanding in their assistance. Todd Greenburg and the players led the way, and their support won't be forgotten in Queensland - at least not until they meet a Queensland team in a NRL grand final.
Credit needs to go to the other Sydney clubs who sent their players to help cleanup up the mess the flood left - and boost community morale in the process. The Broncos and the Titans have been to the fore as well...and their work continues as I write.
I know my fellow Queenslanders will want me to single out Mark Geyer for special mention. Mark is one of the driving forces being this week's Origin Legends match at Parramatta Stadium - and Sydney fans have responded magnificently. Mark and his team, and the Eels, have done the game proud!
The game in significant parts of Queensland has suffered an enormous setback in recent weeks. Recovery will take time, and will be costly.
Sadly, some clubs may fall by the wayside. Every effort needs to be made to stop that happening.
The other rugby league "victim" of the floods is Lang Park, or Suncorp Stadium. The spiritual home of the game went under in the 1974 floods, and did so again two weeks ago.
The bad news for NSW fans is that Lang Park will be back in ship shape condition in time for the TWO origin home game in a few months time!
The game, from the NRL down, has performed magnificently in recent weeks. And, thanks in no small measure to the support of the games administrators, players and fans south of the border, it will recover - stronger than ever!