Steve saves bush footy with last act
IT was one of the last signatures Steve Jones ever made, and it looks set to save rugby league in regional towns that meant so much to him.
The late Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones understood the grass roots of his community and why it needed to be nurtured.
That is why Cr Jones, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale and Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann had gathered in the office of Cr Pisasale on Thursday, February 18 to sign a memorandum of understanding between each other to save league in Rosewood, Laidley and Lowood-Tarampa.
The other signatories were the three bush clubs mentioned above and the Queensland Rugby League (QRL), Ipswich Rugby League (IRL) and Ipswich Junior Rugby League (IJRL).
The three bush clubs will provide players to the Valleys-Dragons side which will play in the IRL competition in 2016.
The memorandum also makes it clear that the survival of Rosewood, Laidley and Lowood-Tarampa clubs is also paramount with the hopes that enough players will be available to play in a second division or recreational competition.
The three mayors had agreed to support the development of rugby league in each of their local government areas, encourage a sense of ownership in the Valleys Dragons by the Rosewood, Lowood-Tarampa and Laidley clubs and promote and champion the Valleys Dragons concept.
Cr Pisasale said his good friend made a positive difference right up until the end.
"Every time I spoke to Steve he was passionate about his area," Cr Pisasale said
"He wanted to get together with myself and Graeme (Lehmann) to celebrate the successes we have had as a region.
"Steve is a person who wanted to get things done for his region and, in this case, ensure the young rugby league players of the Lockyer Valley had a pathway right through to play for Australia.
"It is a project that is going to help every kid in the region have a pathway right the way through.
"That was something Steve Jones wanted to see happen because his community meant so much to him
"There are three teams who are amalgamating into one with the Valleys-Dragons and all of us are going to work together to help the individual clubs survive.
"That is why we all signed the MOU."
Before he fell ill, Cr Jones also signed a football which featured in the QT photo shoot above.
Cr Pisasale said the ball would be treated with the respect it deserved.
"I feel very honoured to have this football which was signed by Steve and I will be putting it in a glass case," he said.
"When the family is ready it is something I would like to present to them to have forever.
"It has got his last signature on it, but more importantly it is a symbol of his vision to help his community right up until the end."