TIGER: Shannon Steinhardt, who has a long association with the club, has been appointed coach of Mundubbera Tigers for the 2019 season.
TIGER: Shannon Steinhardt, who has a long association with the club, has been appointed coach of Mundubbera Tigers for the 2019 season. Contributed

New coach's favourite rugby league memory

FOURTEEN years before he became head coach of the Mundubbera Tigers rugby league team, Shannon Steinhardt was at Suncorp Stadium watching a gripping State of Origin encounter.

The game was sent into extra-time by a Johnathan Thurston field goal and in one of Origin's iconic moments, Matt Bowen snatched an intercept off Blues halfback Brett Kimmorley and ran 30 metres to win the game, 24-20 in Queensland's favour.

After the game, having a beer in the Caxton Hotel, Steinhardt came face-to-face with Bowen.

"I asked him what was going through his mind when he intercepted that pass, and he said, 'Just don't drop the ball, just don't drop the ball',” Steinhardt recalled.

It is his favourite league memory, but for the boy who was "born and bred” in Mundubbera and played 15 years for their junior and A-grade teams, his life is full of good footy memories.

But, he said, there are storm clouds on the horizon for football in the North Burnett.

"If we don't keep the juniors here, then in five or 10 years there will be no country football out here,” Steinhardt said.

"I remember when I was a junior, there was a full day of footy, from 10am until the 6pm kick-off for the reserve grade.

"The crowds used to be really good.”

Steinhardt said mooted gala days, where U6, U8 and U10 juniors would play alongside the A-grade teams, are a great idea to ensure juniors stay in North Burnett's system and don't drift away.

He said the Tigers are looking good for numbers this season.

"Usually we have about 14 to 16, but last Tuesday night we had 21 to training,” Steinhardt said.

The massive Broncos supporter said it was hard to go past Wayne Bennett in terms of coaching inspiration.

Another seminal experience in Steinhardt's career was moving to the Sunshine Coast and playing Division 2 football for Caloundra Sharks, also performing a management role at the club.

"I definitely picked up a few different skills, it's a strong competition down there,” he said.

Steinhardt returned in 2017 and played the second half of the season for the Tigers.

He said, numbers permitting, he would like to just coach this year.

But, if the team needs him, then he will strap on his boots and answer the Tigers' call.


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