Blues go Battye in family affair

It’s a rare opportunity to run onto the field alongside one family member, let alone five.

This weekend Coolangatta-Tweed President Howard Battye, will do just that when he dons the Blues jumper alongside sons Hunter and Reid, and nephews Michael, Corey and Stuart.  

61-year-old Howard described this as the opportunity of a lifetime that he simply could not pass up.

“This is the only chance I’ll ever get to play alongside my family… I’ll never get this again,” Howard said.

At the beginning of the season the Blues picked up a reserves team and were short on numbers. To help out, some of the older blokes put their hand to play, and after getting a whiff of competition, it was hard to drag them back to the sidelines.

Both of Howard’s sons play senior football for the club, and on hearing that they had the chance to play with their old man, decided to step down to the reserves to complete the family affair.

“Once one of them committed, it became contagious and everyone wanted to get involved,” Howard said.

It was Howard’s 17-year-old son Reid who started the domino effect by putting his hand up to play with his dad, and Hunter quickly followed suit when his knee came good.

Howard’s nephew Michael was next to step up to the plate. Michael is currently playing in Geelong so for him it was a no brainer nominating himself to join in.

After the call from Michael, Howard realized that he may as well go the whole hog and get the other nephews Corey and Stuart involved to make an amazing total of six.

While the boys haven’t played since their early teens, the cousins have all laughed that they’ll get the ice baths set up for straight after the game to make it that little bit easier on their unconditioned bodies.

“We’ll all be the walking wounded after the game,” Howard joked.

“I’m still pretty fit but I’m just excited to get the chance to play with my two sons because this will never happen again,” he said.

It will be interesting to see how the Battye boys meld on the field and whether they create opportunities or simply wreak havoc for one another.

Howard said he isn’t concerned about outdoing the boys as they are both talented senior players who are really only looking forward to taking the mickey out of him on the day.

“It’ll be a laugh… they’ll get mileage out of this one for a long long time,” Howard said.

While Howard is hoping for a win on the scoreboard at the end of the game, the point of the activity is to bring positive recognition to the club as a whole.

Howard as President, alongside his wife who is Treasurer, have been working hard to refocus on the pride and prestige associated with the club.

Sitting at the bottom of the ladder and having very few wins in recent years, Howard hopes to boost morale.

“I played for the club in the 80’s and we had such pride in it. I’m desperately trying to get that back,” he said.

“We’re struggling this year but come next, we’ll be back and we’ll have a viable club.”

The game this weekend will bring both family and friends from all around Queensland to take in the spectacle that is sure to unfold.

The day is set to be one of festivity and the aim is to remind everyone that Coolangatta is a family friendly club. Howard hopes to spread some positive vibes and generate a good name for the club and really reiterate what it stands for.

“It would be nice to get a win of course, but the day is really one of goodwill. We want to generate a good crowd,” Howard said.

The six Battye boys are definitely doing everything they can to draw the crowds and leading into the match Howard says the boys are extremely excited to be playing together.

“The boys cousins are ringing them up every day, they’re all pretty excited,” he said.

“There’s lots of positive talk going on around the club.”

For any father to be able to play with their son is an incredible feeling but for Howard to get to play with his two sons, and three nephews is something else entirely.

Everyone at the club will be eagerly watching to see what the Battye boys can bring to the field but whether there’s a win on the scoreboard at the end of the game, is really the least of anyone’s concerns.

Howard is more excited about his once in a lifetime opportunity, one that in his mind will never happen again.

By Sarah Lingard 

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