Strong finish to super career
AFTER a playing career spanning four decades, Toowoomba Bears great Paul Strong has finally decided to hang up the boots.
Saturday’s B grade rugby grand final between Bears and Goondiwindi will be the last game Strong, 49, plays for the club he played a hand in starting way back in 1982.
Most 49-year-olds wouldn’t dream of taking to the football field against guys half their age. But ‘Strongy’ isn’t like most 49-year-olds. And don’t let his age fool you. He more than holds his own out there.
But as the club celebrates its 30th anniversary, Strong says it’s the right time to call it quits.
Apart from offering him a chance at a fairytale finish, Saturday’s grand final provides Strong with a chance to add to his list of firsts for the Bears.
He was a member of the inaugural Bears A grade side in 1982, a member of the first Bears team to win a Downs rugby premiership when C grade won in 1993, and a member of the first Bears A grade team to win the Risdon Cup in 2008.
If Strong’s team can win this weekend, he will be a member of the club’s first B grade premiership.
While the history of his achievements is not lost on Strong, premierships are not what have kept him playing all these years.
“It’s the mateship and all the people who support you away from the field,” Strong said.
It was that mateship which prompted Strong to resume his playing career with the club in 2007 after 14 years away from the sport spent raising a family.
“(Coming back) was the best decision I ever made in my life ... they are a great bunch of fellas,” Strong said. “But the body is getting pretty dodgy. I’m definitely not going to play rugby again.”
That means he is going to leave it all out on the field come Saturday.
“You want to win for the team. There a lot a lot of blokes who put a lot of hard work and effort in through the season.”
They just took a leaf out of your book ‘Strongy’.