8 October, 2022
Dedication to club recognised
INVOLVED with community sport in Mareeba for over a decade, rugby league volunteer stalwart Rachael Morgan has been recognised for her selfless commitment to grass-roots sports after she was awarded a lifetime membership and a volunteer of the year award from two separate competitions.
Spending 12 years on the sidelines, in the canteen and on the field tending to the bruised and battered mighty Gladiators, Rachael was announced as a Mareeba Junior Rugby Life Member and shared the CDRL’s Volunteer of the Award.
Rachael first got involved with the local rugby league scene at the junior level 12 years ago, as her eldest son first started playing for Mareeba Junior Rugby League, with her other two boys soon to follow.
Not content to just sit idly by and watch the games, she thought if she is going to be at the games anyway, she might as well help out and volunteer some of her time.
“Initially I started just as a mum, turning up with my six and seven-year-old kids and I realised that help was needed and did things like jumping into the canteen, timekeeping that sort of thing,” she said.
“Right from when my kids were little, socially you interact with other parents so you make friendships without even knowing it and it just builds from there – your interest in the club develops as your kids get more interested.
“Then you have these friendships throughout the club, that you realise, ‘well I’m not going to let my friend do that by themselves’, so I will jump in and help them out.”
Rachael took on her first committee position roughly six years ago as the first aid coordinator, going through all the qualifications and training, remaining in the position until 2020.
She still acts as a first aid officer for her two younger children’s teams, just not as the overall coordinator.
“Initially it was band aids and ice and then as they get older it gets more intense and you deal with broken bones, strapping and all the rest of it,” she said.
After spending over a decade with Mareeba Junior Rugby League, she made the jump to the Mareeba Gladiators after her eldest son made his debut in the U18s in 2020.
During 2021, Rachael decided to take on an executive committee role, being named treasurer and general everything woman.
After just two years being involved in the Cairns and District Rugby League competition, she was named the 2022 Volunteer of the Year alongside Ashleigh Schreiber from Yarrabah.
“I look around and I see regular faces that I have seen involved in the competition for years, so I sort of felt like they deserved it more than me,” Rachael said.
“But obviously people have noticed me at juniors on a Friday night and Saturday mornings and wherever seniors are on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday.”
While Rachael holds the position of treasurer for the Gladiators, she is often handling a range of different issues throughout the week and during game days – if you have a problem, go see Rachael.
“It is an honour that people look up to me in that way and believe in me that I have been able to provide people with the answers and help they need,” she said.
Like many volunteers of her calibre, Rachael feels honoured to have been given the award but feels she is just one of the many cogs that keeps community groups up and running.
“I do know how much time I put in but there are lots of people like me and every single club in the district has one” she said.
“I do it because of the community spirit and the friendships that I have made.
“I love watching my kids enjoy rugby league and that developed into me enjoying rugby league.”
It is the little things about community sports that Rachael really enjoys, the miracle moments where a kid makes a try, he didn’t think he could, a team makes a final they thought was impossible or catching an uncatchable ball.
Rachael plans to keep spending her time at both Mareeba Junior Rugby League and the Mareeba Gladiators for as long as her kids are playing but assures that afterwards, she will remain a passionate supporter.