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NRL heroes line up for flood relief

Former Broncos star Allan Langer.
Former Broncos star Allan Langer. Sunshine Coast Daily

A WHO’S who of Ipswich rugby league allstars will take on legends of league to raise money for flood-affected junior clubs in the area.

The exciting event is the brain-child of former Ipswich Jets players Pat O’Doherty and Chris Beattie, who both went on to play in the NRL.

After only a few phone calls, the cream of former rugby league talent had put their hands up to play for the kids.

The team sheets feature league luminaries Allan Langer, Mal Meninga, Ivan Henjak, Bob Lindner, Kerrod Walters and Shane Webcke.

O’Doherty said two games would be played at North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday March 5 followed by a fund-raising function.

The first game will be Ipswich State League and Diggers Legends versus Titans Old Boys, and the main game is the Ipswich NRL Allstars against the Broncos Legends.

“We’ve got all four Langer boys who played, we’ve got Kerrod Walters and Andrew Walters and we’re trying to get Steve, Brett and Kevin,” O’Doherty said. “Ipswich boys include Anthony Fowler, Tommy Lenihan, Darren Wolens, Andy Bichel. We’ve got a lot of boys who came from the clubs that were affected.”

He said he hoped for a crowd of 2000 to 4000 and to raise between $20,000 and $30,000.

O’Doherty said the idea got up and running last week when he ran into Chris Beattie who he played with for the Jets in 1986.

“We started talking about the flood and how bad it was,” O’Doherty said. “I said to him about how in the ’74 floods I was eight, and to see what happened in my club Norths really stuck with me. Allan Langer played for Norths at the same time. Chris and I looked at each other and said: ‘What can we do?’”

To get the ball rolling, he called the marketing manager of the Broncos who put him onto the president of their Old Boys.

New Jets co-coach Ben Walker asked if he could help and he contacted Broncos coach Ivan Henjak, who Pat played with at Wests in Sydney.

Meanwhile O’Doherty rang Ipswich sport legend Dick Tazelaar, State of Origin great and former Brother coach Bob Lindner and players he played with at the Gold Coast Seagulls.

“I just said to them all: ‘We’ve got to do something for these kids; they’re devastated; they’ve got nothing’,” O’Doherty said.

“We’ve got the sponsors and Kombat has donated jerseys and shirts. On the back of the jersey is our motto: Doing it for the kids.

“Ipswich is a very strong town; it’s a tough town but there are a lot of soft touches as well.”

“Bob Lindner is coaching the Ipswich side and he said: ‘Don’t worry about Mal Meninga, he’ll be there’.”

Jamie McQueen, who Pat works with at the CFMEU and who played for Brothers and Swifts, helped him with the organising.

“The union has come on board and a lot of construction businesses want to help out,” O’Doherty said. “The council also came on board with Paul Pisasale and they have given us North Ipswich Reserve to use.

He said general entry would be $5 with corporate tables available for $105 a seat or $1000 a table.

 Anyone who wants to play or help can call Pat O’Doherty: 0405 267 530.

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