Rocky NRL player remembered in 20 year memorial
THERE was just one thing football legend, Paul Iles, loved more than his beloved sport, and that was his family.
Twenty years after his death, his family will be holding a memorial for the rugby league great, with invitations open to the town he grew up in.
Paul's niece, Kristy Iles, said the July 22 memorial will be a celebration of her uncle's life and his accomplishments.
"It will be a day where people can come and have fun and play old school footy,” Kristy said.
"It will be a family fun day in the park, celebrating his life, telling stories and remembering him.
"We just want to share with everyone how great a man he was.
"He was honest, caring, worked hard and we're proud of his achievements.”
The memorial will be held at Alf Kele Memorial Rotary Park from 12pm.
Attendees will have the opportunity to contribute a hand-print to a mural for the late footy player.
So far, over 90 people are expected to turn up for the day.
"There will be a barbecue and people can bring their own drinks and have a good time,” Kristy said.
Paul began his football career in Rockhampton as a junior Norths Chargers and Rockhampton Brothers player.
He also represented Queensland every year from Under 13s to Under 19s.
Paul was awarded player of the state carnival when he was 15 and 16, and made the progression into NRL when he signed on with the Brisbane Broncos in 1989.
The five-eighth player debuted on the national stage in 1991 for the Broncos under coach Wayne Bennett.
However, despite being named by his former coach Wayne Bennett as one of the "best footy players he'd ever seen”, Paul chose to leave behind his career to be close to his family.
Like Central Queensland exports after him, Paul has been seen as a mentor to many aspiring league players in the region.
"People in the community loved him,” Kristy said.
"He was always doing athletics and sport and people thought the best of him.
"It was a big loss when he died so young.
"There were so many people at his funeral at the St Cathedral that the church was full and outside was packed.”
To Kristy, there were no words to explain her uncle's love of footy nor his impact on his family and community.
"He was a really great uncle and a great man,” she said.
"The memorial will be about remembering a man for who he was.”
This Saturday Norths Chargers and Rocky Brothers will play for the Paul Iles Memorial Shield at Victoria Park.
PAUL ILES MEMORIAL SHIELD
Norths Chargers v Rocky Brothers this Saturday for the Paul Iles Memorial Shield at Victoria Park.
1.30pm: Women's Brothers v Norths
3pm: Under 20s
4.30pm: Reserve Grade
6pm: Old Boys
Children under 12 free