Rugby league volunteer recognised for years of service
Weather it’s mowing the grounds, organising development camps or watching his three young boys run out for the Kingaroy Red Ants, Carl Braithwaite loves everything to do with rugby league.
At the South Burnett Australia Day Awards on January 24 Mr Braithwaite was awarded the South Burnett volunteer of the year for his tireless contribution to rugby league in the region.
Mr Braithwaite said it was humbling to receive an award among so many deserving people.
“It’s amazing mate, it’s not something we go and look for,” Mr Braithwaite said.
“Anything like that with a heap of other worthy people there as well is very humbling, especially with all those other fantastic people.”
Rugby league flows through veins of the Briathwaite family with three generations of talented Briathwaites all having played for South Burnett teams.
Mr Braithwaite’s dad Phillip played for the Murgon Mustangs, South Burnett and Wide Bay before going on to play for Queensland in the early 70s, an extremely tough era of football.
Mr Braithwaite himself played for the Mustangs up until U19s before work took him out of the game.
His three sons Harrison, Lawson and Patterson now all play junior football for the Kingaroy Red Ants.
Mr Braithwaite said rugby league has given him life long friendships.
“Rugby league has created a lot of friends in my lifetime, friends I can still catch up with today and I want that for my boys,” he said.
“I’ve made heaps of new lifelong friendships through volunteering and the enjoyment I get out of the kids improving and having a hand in that gives me that satisfaction.
“Just to see my kids improve and have fun is really great and makes me happy. As long as they’re happy I’m happy and it’s good to see them playing rugby league and enjoying the game.”
Along with Scott Prendergast, Mr Braithwaite developed the Beyond the Nest Development Camp, which has become an integral part of the rugby league season.
One of the biggest barriers facing rugby league in the region is participation in the older age groups and Beyond the Nest brings those players together into a professional level three training program.
Now in it’s third year, Mr Braithwaite said he is proud of what the program has become.
“Beyond the Nest is the best thing for rugby league our here, growing through a group of really dedicated people,” he said.
“It’s become really successful, I’m very proud of it and hopefully it continues to grow.”