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Bundaberg under 13s Merge

Beasty Bears show true spirit of league in Bundaberg

Bundaberg under 13s Merge

Author : Simon Rathbone QRL Correspondent

Bundaberg under 13s Merge to form Beasty Bears show true spirit of league in Bundaberg

At the start of the Bundaberg Rugby League under 13 season, Brothers and Easts were left at crossroads – one club had too many players and one did not have enough.

However, the decision was made to merge the two clubs together in what then became the ‘Beasty Bears’.

The combined team consisted of young players of all ages, experience and skill levels, playing together for the first time in a competition against some really strong opposition.

While the Bears didn’t win a game all season, it was their commitment to giving their all, their positivity and ‘never-give-up’ attitude that has turned heads.

Despite being on the wrong end of some blowout score lines, the Bears continued to improve with each game in what was a testament to the hard work and encouragement of numerous volunteers who made it all possible in the first place.

One of the those people was Lewis Kaye, with the former Easts Magpies coach playing a pivotal role in keeping the team together despite the constant challenges thrown their way.

Kaye said the merger was a win-win situation for both clubs as it ensured every child was given the opportunity to play this season.

“After losing a few players Easts couldn’t make a complete under 13 team and Brothers had a second team that they couldn’t fill, so instead of both groups of boys missing out, we saw an opportunity to allow all the boys to play by proposing a merger,” Kaye said.

Bundaberg under 13s Coach Lewis Kaye. Photo: supplied

Bundaberg under 13s Coach Lewis Kaye. Photo: supplied

Kaye said it was a great opportunity to work with players of all different skill levels, with the team having to adapt to playing with new team mates for the first time.

“As their first act as a team, the boys made up the name Beasty Bears, which is a combo of Brothers, Easts and Bundy Bears,” Kaye said.

“It was also a big part of my job to ensure they gelled as a team and I was constantly reinforced that it didn’t matter which team we played for originally, we were all one team.”

Despite their best efforts, they were ultimately were hindered by challenges such as injuries, difficulties in securing training facilities, as well as a constant fluctuation of player availability, which often saw them rely on younger players stepping up from the lower grades.

Despite the adversity, the Bears continued to work on achieving their own personal goals rather than focusing completely on the overall result.

The Beasty Bears. Image: supplied

The Beasty Bears. Image: supplied

A pivotal moment happened in the side’s final game of the season, when the Bears captain turned down the opportunity to forfeit the game at half-time, after being approached by the referee, an act Lewis believes reflected the attitude of the entire team.

“Team spirit and never-say-die is exactly what they had… the boys came back week after week, growing in strength despite the score board,” Kaye said.

“As you can imagine, most teams by this point have been playing together for a few seasons, but this team was brand new and it massively impacts their success…however, I believe they improved hugely over the season which was reflected in the scores.”

As their season drew to a close, players, families and coaches were able to celebrate their season in style at their own end-of-year breakup parties and reflect on a season like no other.

Regardless of whether the Beasty Bears will run out again next year, the players, coaches and volunteers that made this unique team a possibility is a testament to the passion for rugby league in Bundaberg.

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