Falcons inspired by PNG war graves
AN EMOTIONAL trip to Papua New Guinea has galvanised the Sunshine Coast Falcons rugby league team.
Despite going down by one point in a thriller to the PNG Hunters in their Intrust
Super Cup clash on July 19, Falcons CEO Chris Flannery said the whole club had been brought together by the journey.
Several players and staff paid homage to fallen Australian soldiers at the Rabaul War Cemetery.
This included the Klein brothers, Rowan and Callum, whose grandfather fought in the Second World War.
Rowan Klein said the morning visit to the cemetery had been stirring.
"We realised if they (the Diggers) could stand up to what they had to, then we could stand up to anything," he said.
"My grandfather fought in World War Two in Borneo and yeah it (the cemetery
visit) definitely did (bring back memories)."
Mr Flannery said that the memorial trip had a notable impact on the squad.
"It was pretty moving," he said. "Obviously war and
footy are two very different things."
While the locals treated the visiting Coast team like rock stars, the Falcons didn't disappoint, handing out jerseys, shirts and hats to the adoring fans, an experience that resonated with Rowan Klein.
"It was something that I'll never forget, the locals running on to the streets," he said.
"That doesn't happen everywhere in the world."
Falcons chairman Ashley Robinson said the experience was a great leveller for the young team.
"It was a great eye opener for the guys," he said.
"It put everything in perspective. They're just playing a game of rugby league and guys their age came over here and put their lives on the line (in the Second World War)."
Mr Flannery said the trip had been so successful the club was looking at options for a return trip early next year.