By Beth Newman
The first time Liam Dawson stepped out on a football field, he didn’t want to be there.
As her six year-old son’s eyes welled up with tears, his mum Bev, simply told him to get amongst it and enjoy it.
While nowadays most of the tears are of joy from Bev, she’s still always there.
“I’ll always know where she’s sitting so at quarter or half or three-quarter time if I come out of the huddle she’ll always give me a thumbs up or a thumbs down,” Liam says.
After the game, it’s the same message too.
“I always say, “I’m so proud of you. Did you enjoy it?” Bev says.
While she’s a fixture on the sideline at Liam’s matches now, whether it be the Queensland U18 team or Aspley in the NEAFL, the mother and son share one very special sporting memory when Bev coached the Redcliffe Under-12 team.
Down by three goals at half-time, the Tigers staged a massive comeback to force the game into extra-time.
“I was panicking, I think I punched the manager, my friend Jo, about 100 times,” Bev recalls.
Liam remembers hearing Bev’s voice from the sideline as the minutes ticked down.
“She was just yelling “just get it down, just kick a point, kick a point!,’” he says.
“One of my mates tried to kick a goal but it came off the side of his boot, so he kicked a point and we ended up winning by that.”
“It was the most intense game I’ve been involved in.”
Both tell the tale of that day with the same enthusiasm and passion, recalling a memory that still holds such significance.
Bev has her own strong sporting pedigree, a representative soccer player in her native England, including a match at Wembley Stadium, and formed a love of AFL footy watching it back in the UK.
After moving to Australia, her love for the game saw her help start up the Redcliffe women’s team and once she stopped playing, she was a field umpire for six years.
“If I could still get out there and play, I would,” she says.
“It was so great to play and I still catch up with some of the girls I played, many who have sons playing as well.”
A mad Collingwood fan, one of the many traits she has passed on to her son, Bev says Fox Footy is always on, while the family face off in a game of pool or just hang out.
There is one game she won’t play with Liam anymore, though.
“He loves his ping pong and he’s so quick.
“He just goes bang and the ball’s gone past.”
Bev, who is separated from the boys’ dad, has formed a close relationships with Liam and younger brother, Kyle, and her pride when speaking of the pair is obvious, just in the tone of her voice.
“I’m so proud to have such beautiful sons.”
‘I’m very close with both of them and they’re very good kids.”
Her influence on Liam is clear, sharing a passion for sports and a bubbly, positive disposition that endears them to many.
While his football credentials were obvious to Bev early, she says it’s his compassion and honesty that she’s just as proud of.
“He’s very caring, he’s a very honest and trustworthy boy,” she says.
“He’s very easy to get along with and he would do anything for anybody.”
And Liam has plenty to thank his mum for.
“She does everything for me.
“She’s had to do it on her own and she’s supported me and my brother all the way through.”
“She’s always there to support me.”
If the rising star gets his ultimate wish this season, Bev will be there as she always has been.
“There’s a bit of a way to go but, I would be so ecstatic – there would be no words (if he was drafted),” she said.
“I’d probably cry.”