‘Humbled’: CQ rugby stalwart’s incredible milestone
One of the Cap Coast Crocs’ favourite sons has claimed an incredible rugby milestone.
Brett Shackleton has played 400 games for the club since starting his career as a teenager in 1993.
He brought up the magic number a fortnight ago, with the team scoring a gritty 18-12 win over Biloela to make it one to remember.
But the grand achievement will be celebrated on Saturday at the club’s home ground at Cooee Bay, the same field on which Shackleton played his very first game.
The Crocs have a host of festivities planned for the 44-year-old, who will make his 402nd appearance in the open men’s clash against Frenchville at 4pm.
A 60-strong contingent of family and friends will wear T-shirts featuring Brett’s face on the front and his jersey number (4) and his moniker (Shack) on the back.
The modest milestone man says he doesn’t chase awards or accolades – he plays for the love of the game, his club and the rugby community.
The Crocs have recognised his incredible journey at each significant step and after his 300th game, an award was named in his honour which is presented each year for an outstanding achievement within the club.
But Brett believes Saturday will be something else again.
“I’ll feel very humbled and a little bit embarrassed,” he said.
“I’m not someone who seeks attention so I’m going to be pretty red-faced, not just from running around in the game but because people are doing this for me.
“Thinking about the number of games never came into it.
“I just looked forward to every weekend when I got to have a game with mates and got to meet some new people.
“There’s been a few premierships along the way. It’s good for the club as a whole when you win them but every game I play is as good as a premiership.”
Brett was introduced to rugby by chance.
“I was playing basketball in high school and I remember hanging around the school, waiting for a game I had to play in a few hours,” he explains.
“The schoolboys were playing a rugby game and asked me if I wanted to have a run.
“I had played some junior league and thought that sounded good.
“That’s where it started, and it just kicked on from there.”
Brett soon joined the Crocs and found his spiritual sporting home.
As well as being a major contributor on the field, he’s done his fair share off it.
He filled a variety of roles, including club president, and was awarded life membership in 2006.
Brett has so many incredible memories but his fondest was playing alongside his dad Jim, an avid rugby league fan who took up rugby after watching his son play.
Jim was playing into his 50s, and he would line up in the front row and Brett in the second row.
“That was a big thing, getting to play with Dad,” Brett said.
“He was an inspiration for me.
“He never let age get in the way. He always said if you can do it, do it. Don’t let other people tell you you’re too old or that you should be thinking of doing something else.
“I’m happy I can still do it and while my body lets me, I’ll keep doing it too.”