CQ stalwart named Australian rugby's No.1 volunteer
RUGBY UNION: Peter Kurtz admits the enormity of being named Australian rugby's top volunteer is still sinking in.
The Biloela club stalwart was named the HSBC Volunteer of the Year at the Rugby Australia Awards at Royal Randwick in Sydney on Thursday night.
He received the accolade at the gala ceremony in front of a 540-strong crowd, which included current and former Wallabies stars.
"Words can't describe it, to be honest,” Kurtz said yesterday.
"I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be up for an award like that.
"When I got onto the stage I was shaking I was that nervous.
"It was certainly a night to remember.”
Kurtz was recognised for his tireless work at local, regional and state levels within the game.
As he made his way to the stage, Fox Sports commentator Greg Clark detailed his extensive contribution to the game.
His roles included Biloela senior and junior coach and registrar, CQ Brahmans' rep team manager, Rugby Capricornia competition manager and board member, QRU advisory committee member, groundsman and bus driver.
While a huge individual accolade, a modest and humble Kurtz said it was a team effort and was quick to acknowledge his fellow club members and volunteers.
Thousands of volunteers from across Australia were nominated for the award. That field was whittled down and ultimately Kurtz was one of five Queenslanders in the running for the national award.
"This is definitely the highlight of my career,” he declared proudly.
"I got a very heavy trophy that took my bag limit over coming home and the club gets a $10,000 grant from HSBC.
”We haven't got together to work out what we'll do with that money but it will certainly be well spent.”
The national accolade came less than a week after the 43-year-old was named the St George Queensland Volunteer of the Year Norbert Byrne Trophy winner at the QRU's Long Lunch.
Kurtz started playing rugby in 1992. It was when his job took him to Theodore and put too many kilometres between him and the training paddock that he started to look for other ways to be involved.
He quickly found his way into coaching and administration roles soon followed.
Kurtz has invested countless hours into the promotion and development of the game and paid tribute to the ongoing support of his wife and two sons.
He said he gleaned the greatest satisfaction from coaching, seeing a group of players come together and work for a singular goal.
"This year, for the first time in 16 years, Biloela got a junior side into the Rocky competition. When they scored their first try it was priceless, absolutely priceless,” he said.
Kurtz believes there are exciting times ahead for the game on the local scene, which is starting to emerge from the tumult of the past few years after Central Queensland Rugby Union was declared insolvent in 2015.
After being managed by the QRU in the interim, it is set to return to a self-governing model under Rugby Capricornia before the new season kicks off in 2018.
"Obviously the last couple of years have been hard but looking forward there's a lot of positives.
"We have new people involved, new ideas and the sport is definitely growing,” Kurtz said.