2023 Queensland Football Hall of Fame – Will Forbes

Known to everyone at Sandgate as ‘Bear’, Will Forbes was a 231-game star of the 1970s who epitomised what the tag ‘clubman’ is all about. He was one of the very best – on and off the field.

A junior product of the northside QAFL powerhouse of his time, the straight-ahead key defender played in five QAFL grand finals for premierships in 1974, when the Hawks beat arch rivals Mayne at Windsor Park, and 1979, when they got over Wests at the Gabba.

He was ‘man of the match’ in the 1979 grand final for his stellar performance at fullback two years before the League introduced the ‘Joe Grant Medal’ for the player judged best afield in the premiership decider, named in honour of long-serving QAFL secretary Joe Grant.

Forbes played four times for Queensland in 1977 and 1980 as the QAFL built on its 1975 breakthrough win over Tasmania at the Gabba that set the code on a path which ultimately led to the birth of the Brisbane Bears in an expanded national competition in 1987.

Later, he coached and managed Sandgate juniors for 12 years before turning his hand to off-field matters, serving for three years as junior club president, two years as junior club vice-president, and 12 years as senior club secretary as the Hawks confronted the challenges associated with the advent of the Bears and the inevitable contraction in support for the QAFL.

His contribution during this period was magnificent, and was as significant as any in the fight to maintain the club’s presence in the local domestic competition.

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