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5 October, 2021

Pat Bailey: The mother of local rugby league

DUBBED the mother of Cairns rugby league, long-time member Pat Bailey has decided to hang up her hat and call it a day on a rewarding 36-year long career with the Cairns District Rugby League (CDRL).

By Rhys Thomas

Pat Bailey from Cairns District Rugby League has finally decided to call it a day on 36 year long career.

Pat started her long career with the CDRL making the transition from basketball after being asked to be the secretary for the Ivanhoes football club. 

From then Pat cemented herself as a key figure in the CDRL scene with many major decisions and developments over the last 36 years, having some of her input. 

After John Moore was elected as the president of the CDRL he contacted Pat personally to ask her to come on as the registrar the next Monday and by Friday she was the secretary, a position she holds to this day. 

“They say you can’t teach and old dog new tricks but I’ve had to learn over the years,” Pat said.

“I have spoilt and nursed the teams something shocking over the years and one of them said me retiring is like taking their security blanket away. 

“I’ve seen clubs come in and clubs drop out, we didn’t have Tully we had Babinda, we had two teams from Innisfail which is now just one.”

Despite managing having teams from as far as Mossman to Tully involved in the CDRL, Pat admitted that she has a soft spot for the two Tableland teams.

“I love the Tablelands teams and I’ve had a close relationship with both Mareeba and Atherton over the years,” she said.

“We’ve had some great people in both Atherton and Mareeba.

“I’ve got a special place in my heart for the Tablelands teams, same with the Cassowary Coast teams.” 

Pat was even part of the original committee that founded the North Queensland Cowboys as we know them today. 

“The first meeting we had they were going to be called the crocodiles,” she said. 

“In the first board of the Cowboys the presidents of Townsville, Mackay, Cairns and Mount Isa competitions were all board members.” 

Even the NRL was no stranger to Pat with her having the chance to help organise some of their games over the years. 

Now Pat is planning to retire at the end of the current CDRL season after the finals that are due to be played this weekend.

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