Peter Beardsley, the work-horse, and part of the brains trust that started the Park Ridge Pirates senior club, is this week’s AFL Queensland volunteer of the week.
There is no job too big or too small for Peter when it comes to the Pirates.
Whether it’s filling up the water bottles, doing the match day check list, performing his duties as the junior and senior coaching coordinator, as the senior football manager, or even strapping on the boots on occasions, he does it all.
In fact, the whole family chips in. His wife Marti, who was the AFL Queensland club volunteer of the year last year, and their two daughters, Peta-Louise and Emily, also roll up the sleeves when they can.
“For lack of a better term, I guess Marti and I are the Mum and Dad of the senior club,” Peter said.
Beardsley’s association with the Pirates began back in 2010.
“It started with my girls deciding they wanted to play AFL at a club level. They had been participating in school programs, and being Victorian, decided that was the sport was the one for them,” Beardsley said.
It didn’t take him long to become immersed in the club.
The first step was taking over as assistant coach of the under 13 team, coaching the under 14 team the following year, before three years ago, taking the step up to become the coaching coordinator of the junior club.
From there, Beardsley recognised the need for a senior club in the Park Ridge area. The high school has the development academy, but there was no senior team for them to move into.
“My primary goal was to draw as many of the kids out of the Park Ridge High School program back to Park Ridge Football Club, playing senior footy, so that it is a true local club, not just getting guys from other areas,” he said.
“We want as many kids as possible coming out of that program to play for their local club.”
He said the hardest part of the day-to-day operations of the club is making sure everyone is on the same page.
“It is challenging. Everyone has their own ideas throughout the club on how it should be done. The biggest challenge is to all pull in the one direction for the greatest success possible.
The rewards far outweigh anything else though.
“Compared to last year, getting a good percentage of players being drawn to our club has been fantastic. A lot of local footballers have come back to Park Ridge, it’s great to see,” Beardsley said.
He even used the L word.
“I love Park Ridge. It has got so much upside. It’s a young club, and it’s still growing,’ he said.
And he isn’t planning on going anywhere anytime soon.
“I’ll be around in some capacity in 2016 and going forward. What that is, I don’t know. I would love to encourage some younger people to grab the club and take it forward,” Beardsley said.
It’s fair to say he lives and breathes footy.
“I’m a mad Richmond supporter, so I can’t picture a life without AFL, or without Park Ridge.
When Beardsley’s foundation for all the work he does is based on “growing and supporting Australian Rules in my local community,” you know the club is in safe hands.
By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles