Friday, 27 Oct 2017

Year 8 student Sam Perett idea for his leadership challenge fulfilled the goal to engage the community and with it brought communities today. You can read the full story below, or visit the QT Website.

Sam's generous footy effort

A FOURTEEN-year-old West Moreton Anglican College student has helped bring together two proud rugby league clubs more than 250km apart.

What started as a school leadership challenge to engage his local community blossomed into something far greater for Brothers Ipswich junior Sam Perrett.

Perrett enlisted the help of the Brothers rugby league community by asking for donations in the form of training gear and equipment which would then be passed on to the Cherbourg Hornets.

Cherbourg is a small indigenous community in the South Burnett, where rugby league rules as a something of a religion.

Former Parramatta Eels and South Sydney star Chris Sandow hails from the Hornets' homeland, as do fellow former NRL players Esi and Willie Tonga.

The Hornets' home base of Jack O'Chin Oval serves as more than just facility for rugby league.

It brings the people of Cherbourg together, young and old rallying around their team, unified under a love for community and league.

Sam's father and outgoing Brothers A Grade coach Gary Perrett knew this all too well, having visited Cherbourg previously in his role as a police officer.

Gary helped with the logistics of the venture, but he was quick to lay all the credit at his son's feet.

"I'm very proud of Sam,” the police officer said.

"It was his idea to engage the Brothers community, and he did a lot of the organisation. He made contact with the junior and senior president, and was the one to coordinate the collections.

"Really I was just there to help push it along and drive the car.”

Gary said he and Sam were overwhelmed by the sheer number of items they were able to accumulate: 270 training kits, footballs, boots and water bottles all generously donated by members of the senior and junior clubs.

"It seemed logical that the community we would engage with would be Brothers,” Gary said.

"I'd been out to Cherbourg before with the police for NADOC and a few other events, and I have seen how much that community loves its rugby league.

"We thought we would try to do something for the kids out there, so I made some enquires and we got on to (Hornets president) Warren Collins.

"We mentioned we wanted to help the club with some donations and he was very receptive to that.”

Collins presented Sam with a Cherbourg Hornets supporters shirt as a token of thanks for the youngster's efforts in bringing the two clubs together.

"I think (Collins) was surprised we had so much gear, it was basically a whole trailer-full of items,” Perrett said. "Sam had gone through and itemised everything, putting the footballs together, jerseys together etc.

"Warren was pleasantly surprised and he said they'd go to a good cause out there.”

Gary hailed the reaction from the Brothers community for their part in making the exchange possible.

"One player in particular brought in his own boots that he'd played in the day before, and his son's boots,” he said.

"I asked him what he was going to do about boots, and he just said 'I'll get another pair'.

"The senior club came on board with training shirts and socks they hadn't sold throughout the year, and the junior club did the same.”

Because of its overwhelming success, talks are already being held to make the exchange an annual event between the two clubs.

"I can only imagine the kids out there wouldn't have the boots and equipment the kids at Brothers have,” Perrett said.

"A pair of boots is something that we might take for granted, whereas it's a special item out there.

"It didn't take much to organise, and we wouldn't mind doing it again next year.”

Story Credit - Callum Dick, QT