The Red White and Blue Heart of AFL Townsville

By: Kieran Daley

Photo: Jess Susan Photography

When Richard and Beth McDonald moved to Townsville with their five children in 2000, you would struggle to find someone who could convince you that in 2020, their two sons would be playing in their first Senior Grand Final together.

Not because they would not have thought it would happen, more so that it shouldn’t have taken 20 years.

The family firstly, got involved with the Alligator Creek Crocs in the Junior competition, with Jack and Adam donning the Fremantle colours of Red, Green and Purple. It was not long before they were aligned to the Curra Swans. Curra was a stand-alone Senior club and Alligator Creek was only juniors, it was a perfect match to develop a relationship for the juniors to transition to play senior football.

Both Jack and Adam are accomplished footballers, playing in a number of Townsville Eagles teams as juniors and also graduating to Queensland Country representative sides.

The football journey took both boys away from Townsville with Jack spending six years at Redland Bombers in the QAFL & NEAFL Competitions, winning four Best & fairest awards and Adam having stints in the NEAFL with Belconnen Magpies and Morningside in the QAFL. Adam also managed to win the prestigious WJ Williams medal, before departing his beloved Curra Swans in 2011.

During this time, Richard and Beth have been not only been ongoing support of Jack and Adam but also been great contributors to the growth of AFL in the community of Townsville.

“I originally got involved after Richie Lyons, AFLQ Regional Manager at the time, asked if I would sponsor the league back in 2006. AFL Townsville had, and still has, fantastic volunteers, coaches and support staff, and this was my way of being able to help out. Some of the clubs had tin shed change rooms, which was not allowing the growth of the junior competition and I really wanted to see the game grow and succeed.” Richard said.

“Richard and RMS have been strong supporters of AFL Townsville since 2006.  Whether it be assisting with the development of ovals, sponsoring the league, supporting players and the local clubs, Richard’s contribution is greatly valued and appreciated by the entire AFL community” – AFL Townsville Advisory Board President, Michael Jones.

Richard and RMS Engineering and Construction has literally helped build AFL in Townsville and was instrumental in the construction of the third junior oval that now complements the facility at Murray sporting complex.

It was a casual conversation between Richard and Brad Clarke, Hermit Park Life Member, in 2007, while watching junior footy, that the seed of a junior sized oval was planted. It wasn’t long, October 2007 the work commenced with RMS Engineering donating time and machinery to clear the huge amount of debris and dirt, before leveling began in December 2007.

It was Brad Clarke who sourced additional funding to seed and irrigate the now named RMS Oval.

Richard admits he has a soft spot for the Curra Swans. “The absence of senior success at the Swans prompted me to assist the club, through sponsorship, to help them challenge the stronger clubs in the competition. Given opportunities and with more robust competition, AFL Townsville will be able to provide further pathways for all players, men and women, to be successful and to enjoy the game.  

Come Saturday, Richard and Beth will be watching both boys run around in the red, white and blue. It would be a fantastic fairy tale if the Curra Swans can break their 22 year drought, not only for the Swans, but also for this family, who has given the game so much.

Community sports need community partners.  The sport of AFL in Townsville would not be where it is today without people like Richard and Beth McDonald.” 

The RMS Engineering and Construction Grand Finals, Curra Swans v Thuringowa

Saturday 3 October 2020

1.15pm Reserve Grade

3.30pm for the Seniors


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