Artie's last footy wish
ARTHUR Beetson's vision for the future of rugby league in Ipswich will be at the core of the Western Corridor NRL bid.
Beetson, who died last year, penned the foreword to the Western Corridor bid document that will be presented to the Australian Rugby League Commission when it calls for expansion candidates later this year.
"His son Mark (Beetson) has asked if he can go to the commission and read his Dad's words in the foreword," bid chairman Steve Johnson said.
"The community ownership model of the Western Corridor bid appealed to Beetson.
"Arthur was very passionate about the Western Corridor because the values of our bid were fundamental to his core beliefs," bid chairman Steve Johnson says.
"He came to believe that the best way forward for players was to leave them in their home environments. Our bid will allow them to keep living at home in some of these regional centres and still play NRL.
"I spoke to Arthur just after he came back from the Four Nations tour last year and he was still full of enthusiasm for the bid. He loved our ownership model. Anyone can buy shares in it, but our club will be owned by the community and no one person will be able to get enough votes to have a controlling interest in it. Our constitution will say that we are not for profit and no money can go back to an owner."
Indigenous motifs will adorn the Western Corridor jersey where Beetson's influence has been central.
"When you are starting a new club, one thing you haven't got is a history or tradition.
"We have a proud indigenous area in the Western Corridor and there is no greater history in the world than indigenous Australia," Johnson says. "There is a very indigenous bent to our bid and Arthur was advising us on that.
"We have taken a lot of Arthur's wisdom on board and a lot of that is encapsulated in what we are doing."
Artie's Forward (Arthur Beetson OAM)
I AM proud to be part of the Western Corridor bid for a licence to enter a team in the NRL competition.
The bid's vision and passion for our game and for our kids is something I share.
I was raised in a country town and left as a teenager to pursue my dream to play rugby league for my country.
I was fortunate to achieve success in the game, and just as importantly to learn personal skills and develop good traits.
I have been involved in the game my whole life as a player, coach and official.
I love the game but over the years with change I don't think that sometimes the game loves its young players.
It takes better care of them as players than in my day, but as people?
All too often I see boys taken from their home and parents' care and uprooted to another city, where the game becomes their parents and the focus of their lives.
Things other than talent decide if the boy will make it in the game and dreams are lived or crushed.
The Western Corridor bid will provide kids, in particular from rural areas like my home town of Roma, the chance to chase their dreams without having to leave home while still boys.
There's nothing like a mum's glare or dad's boot in the bum to make a boy toe the line!
I still like to travel the bush helping the game and kids where I can and, as much as the bush loves the game, I have seen it decline over the years as the game has been centred on the major cities.
An NRL team in the Western Corridor will help revitalise the game as it brings back the Toowoomba Clydesdales, one of the strongest regional teams to play rugby league.
With the game becoming more of a business and players 'stock in trade', it more than ever needs to keep some traditional values.
The Western Corridor model will go a long way to keeping a balance between healthy business and healthy life.
The community-owned Western Corridor model, where the person is as important as the player, should be supported by the game.