CLUB MAN: Murgon Mustangs A-grade team co-coach Paul Brunjes has fond memories from his years as a player and now coach.
CLUB MAN: Murgon Mustangs A-grade team co-coach Paul Brunjes has fond memories from his years as a player and now coach. Michael Nolan

Proud to be a Mustang

RUGBY LEAGUE: During the 2018 Origin series the South Burnett Times will be featuring a footy legend from each club in the South Burnett.

What defines them as a "footy legend” is unique to each individual, whether it be what they have achieved as a player or what they contribute to their club.

Meet our footy legend for the Murgon Mustangs, Paul Brunjes.

He remembers the 1990 South Burnett rugby league grand final like it was yesterday.

It was Murgon against Cherbourg at the home of the Mustangs.

"It was close all the way through and scored with three minutes to go in the corner,” Brunjes said.

"They were two good sides with some really good names in them.”

Ronnie Watson, who went on to play for the Redcliffe Dolphins, was part of the Cherbourg side and Frank Malone, who was later named in the South Burnett team of the century, captained the Murgon side to victory.

On the field, Brunjes could be seen playing his role at half back and full back.

While he continues to play a key role for the Mustangs he does it from the side line as co-coach of the A-grade team, alongside Jason Webber.

Last season was a stand-out year for the club.

Brunjes scored his first premiership as coach when the Mustangs defeated the Hornets in the grand final.

For Brunjes, it was special to see the players that had not yet won a premiership be rewarded for their effort and commitment to the team.

"A few of the boys have been there for a long time and had never got a premiership,” he said.

The club was named as NRL Community Club of the Year for 2017.

"It was a massive thing for the club because we lost a lot of money and to come back the way we did was massive,” Brunjes said.

His love for the Mustangs and willingness to volunteer his time to coach the team is all down to the people that make up the club.

"It is the people involved and that is the best thing about it, you keep a good relationship with my sons' friends,” Brunjes said.

"The thing I enjoy about our club is there is always great people in the club and it is not a chore, it is a pleasure.

"I've got lifelong friends from my playing days and from coaching.”

On June 2, 2018, the Mustangs suffered a 64-point loss against Nanango at the home of the Stags.

The next week the Mustangs defeated Cherbourg 38 points to 26 in Murgon.

The team's ability to put the previous week's result behind them and focus on the task at hand was what Brunjes admired most about their win.

The boys executed what they worked on at training and it made Brunjes one very proud coach.

For his team to play their own style of footy is what Brunjes hopes to pass down to his players.

"To be able to play the game the way they want to and to the best of their ability,” he said.

While he is now a Mustang through and through, Brunjes played his junior footy for Goomeri before pulling on a blue and gold jersey at 17 to play for the Murgon under-18 team in the South Burnett competition.

This season the competition is highly competitive, with Nanango, Murgon, Kingaroy and Cherbourg all in with a shot at scoring season honours.

"I think it is in the best shape it has been for a long time,” Brunjes said.

"There is not much in it and the other three teams on their day would be able to beat Nanango.”

When Brunjes first started playing in the South Burnett competition, there was up to seven teams in the competition.

"It would be good to see Wondai get back to where they were a few years ago and it would be good to see five strong sides,” he said.

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