Bundaberg hosted the 85th Confraternity of Brothers Clubs in a two-day conference to assist Brothers football clubs and players.
The Confraternity of Brothers was formed in 1975 to assist Brothers football clubs and players.
From relatively humble beginnings, more than four decades ago, it continues to grow and support clubs.
Members travelled to the Bundaberg Region from as far as Logan and Cairns to participate in the 85th Confraternity, with many staying longer to take in the tourist side of the city.
The passion for rugby league was crystal clear in Confraternity of Brothers president Brian Roberts voice as he was tasked to chaperon the large group as they shared stories and ideas.
Brian joined the Confraternity of Brothers Clubs 35 years ago and he has spent the past 26 years as president.
He started playing rugby league straight out of school in 1962, and he fell in love with the sport, but unfortunately after injuring his eye in a workplace incident he couldn’t return to the field.
So, he took his love for the sport to another level and, along with coaching football, he became tied to the confraternity.
“I played for Brisbane Brothers many years ago, I signed with them when I was 18,” he said.
“I played one season, before I put a nail through my eye and lost my sight, and I ended up with a glass eye.
“So, although I couldn’t play, I went on to coach and help produce a few good footballers over the years.”
Brian said listening to the speakers at the conference was informative, but it was the time spent having a yarn with one another that meant the most.
“We have 51 individual clubs inside the corporation, some regions have four clubs in total, with members coming together twice a year to meet and throw ideas off each other,” he said.
“These conferences can be entertaining, but most importantly it’s about learning off each other and the ideas just keep flowing.
“We are hoping to encourage younger members to come along in the future.”
Past Brothers Rugby League Football Club treasurer Rhonda Marsden has attended several Confraternity of Brothers conferences and she said there was always something new to take away from it.
“It’s a great opportunity to network and bounce ideas off each other,” she said.
“I get a lot out of the conferences because of all the different speakers that attend.”
Guest speakers at the conference included Queensland Rugby League general manager Glenn Ottaway, QRL-SEQ projects manager Brian Canavan, Bundaberg Regional Council sport and recreation portfolio spokesperson Cr Vince Habermann OAM, and Queensland Independent Secondary Schools Rugby League life member and Shalom College principal Dan McMahon.
Rhonda said rugby league continued to grow in the Bundaberg Region, and there were now more than 200 junior players registered with Brothers, which had almost doubled during her time.
“Kids just want to play,” she said.
“It’s just great to see, and shows the importance having committees, and conferences like these.”
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey officially opened the 85th Confraternity of Brothers Clubs conference and he said it was an honour to have it held in the Bundaberg Region.
“Certainly, confraternity clubs have set a standard over the years based on true values,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“They have been the lead that has inspired many other community organisations.
“Many champions have come through the association, whether it be representing on the field or through community and business. Brothers fraternity certainly has provided that stability.”
Mayor Dempsey said confraternity carnivals began in Bundaberg many years ago, and the region was privileged to have such carnivals held here.
“The carnivals have contributed not only to the ideals, but also greatly to the economy of the Bundaberg Region,” he said.