Glenn Gamble with his Maryborough Mudcrabs teammates including the late Paul Fratus in 2001.
Glenn Gamble with his Maryborough Mudcrabs teammates including the late Paul Fratus in 2001.

Mariners to tackle Toads for Cup

THEY say that rugby union is the game they play in heaven.

Well, if that’s the case, Glenn Gamble knows someone who will be giving 110% in the games he would be playing – his former teammate, Paul Fratus.

The 6ft 6in (198cm), 133kg gentle giant of a man didn’t know any other way and you can be sure he would also be doing the same nowadays if he was alive.

The former Maryborough Mudcrabs and Fraser Coast Mariners second-rower died eight years ago this year – he was only 31.

He died 10 days after emergency heart surgery at Brisbane’s Prince Charles Hospital.

Fratus had been flown to Brisbane after complaining of chest pains while training with the Mariners at Pialba’s Seafront Oval.

Gamble, a former police officer, was training alongside Fratus when his mate said he didn’t feel too good and he rushed him to hospital.

That was the last he saw of him.

Although the man his teammates called the “big fella” is not around anymore, Gamble said his memory continued to live on strongly and it would be especially so tomorrow.

The Mariners will tackle the Nambour Toads, a club Fratus also played for during his career, in round 19 of the Sunshine Coast Rugby Union competition at Walkers Rd in Urangan.

The game has much more than the competition points on offer.

The two clubs will play for the Paul Fratus Memorial Cup.

Nambour currently holds the cup but Gamble, who is now a referee, is sure the Mariners will be doing their best to change that statistic but Nambour would be just as keen to keep hold of it.

“This trophy means so much to everyone who knew Paul,” Gamble, who won a premiership alongside Fratus with the Maryborough Mudcrabs in 2001, said.

“He always gave his all when he pulled a rugby union jersey over his broad shoulders – I am sure the players in both clubs will be doing the same tomorrow.

“It will make the game a fitting tribute for him.”

Gamble also said some former Mudcrabs were also coming along to pay their respects in a way Fratus would have simply loved.

“They are going to have a run in reserve grade,” Gamble, who will be in charge of the A-Grade game, said.

“The ‘big fella’ would be proud of them.”

The reserve grade game kicks-off at 1.45pm and A-Grade at 3.15pm.

They will be the final home games of the season for the Mariners.



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