Special honour for the man who saved Bundy Rugby League
LEAGUE: The first week of the Bundaberg Rugby League finals will be significant for the competition for a special reason.
The BRL will pay its respects and celebrate the contribution of former chairman Mal Breen to the association by hosting a day in his honour at Salter Oval on Saturday.
Breen died in May at the age of 72 after battling illness.
He was remembered as the man who essentially saved the BRL almost 20 years ago by clearing $130,000 of debt to the Queensland Rugby League.
But that doesn't tell half the story. He was also influential in moving the Wanderers to The Waves Sports Club where they became The Waves Tigers.
The former BRL chairman also aided Isis and Wallaroos to move to the BRL from the Northern Districts Rugby League and Fraser Coast competitions respectively.
He also had a distinguished footballing career playing for Bundaberg and guiding Hervey Bay and Brisbane side Norths Devils to premierships.
The BRL will recognise his achievements to the game by naming the balcony at the top of the clubhouse in his honour.
The Mal Breen Balcony will be unveiled at 3.45pm.
Current BRL chairman Mike Ireland said it was a fitting move for a person who spent most Saturdays at the balcony cheering on the sides and mingling with fans and BRL members.
"We urge everyone to come out on Saturday and celebrate the day,” he said.
"Mal was a wonderful man, this is our way to commemorate what he did for the BRL.”
Breen's family, his wife Shane and three children, will be there to help with the announcement.
His son Scott is also involved in another part of the day to celebrate Breen's life.
Breen's former Brisbane club Norths Devils will be sending two under-11 teams to Bundaberg to face two under-12 teams from Brothers Bulldogs.
Scott coaches one of the teams with Breen's grandson also involved as a fullback.
"He's a lot quicker than me and plays more like dad (Mal) when he was younger and played five-eighth,” Scott said.
"Mike (Ireland) mentioned to us if we could do something, dad won a premiership with them.
"We've got 30 kids coming and the parents have been really positive with it.
"It's a really nice gesture and I must thank Mike and the BRL committee for asking us to be involved.”
Scott said the family was proud of what Breen did for the sport and said it was wonderful a part of Salter Oval would be named in his honour.
"He had some really nice memories there.”
The under-12 Mal Breen memorial match will be held at 2.15pm before the balcony unveiling.