Bush legends: ‘You can’t take the bush out of the boy’
This week we're helping celebrate the Queensland Intrust Super Cup's 'Get in the Game' Country Week.
Over the next few days we'll be profiling some of Queensland's unsung heroes; the most renowned, decorated and colourful characters of the bush footy scene to acknowledge the lifeblood of this state's greatest game of all.
To kick things off, let us introduce the legendary Wayne Collie.
Current club: South West Country coach, only retired from rugby league in 2017 following
Games: 27 seasons
Position: Second row/ lock
Key achievem ents: 9 x grand finalist, current coach of Queensland Outback squad
Wayne 'Cabbage' Collie admits he had his chance at playing in the bright lights of the big smoke but didn't enjoy the city life.
"I went to Redcliffe (Dolphins) when I was 19 but I only lasted six months because I hated the city," he said.
"I bolted and came back west. You can take the boy from the bush but you can't take the bush out of the boy."
The 43-year-old Surat junior is a renowned name in western Queensland's rugby league circles, having played the game for more than 27 years.
The veteran of western Queensland rugby league is passionate about bush footy.
Having starred in nine grand finals, for teams such as the Miles Devils and Roma Cities, Collie's experience has now afforded him the role as head coach of the Queensland Outback representative side.
His Outback stars are looking to defend their title when they play their annual clash with North Queensland United, this year on Thursday Island on Saturday.
But with the pool of talent slowly dwindling in the bush, Collie is pushing hard for recently retired NRL players to head west to play A-Grade in the local leagues to help the "forgotten people" of rugby league.
"Footy is slowing dying out here," he said.
"There's a lot of good talent out here that gets missed. They forget about the guys out here in the bush.
"The NRL should look at tasking players when they retire to go west to captain/ coach the teams out here to promote sport.
"You'd get so much more focus to rugby league. The city blokes always say they struggle with life after footy, well footy's not over when you come out here."
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