Mates and fellow Mullumbimby Giants players gather to remember Mathew Kidson (centre) of Ocean Shores.
Mates and fellow Mullumbimby Giants players gather to remember Mathew Kidson (centre) of Ocean Shores.

Mates mourn a champion

By RACHEL AFFLICK rachel.afflick@northernstar.com.au OCEAN SHORES teen Mathew Kidson will be with his footy mates every time they kick off this season.

Matt was killed last Sunday after his car collided with another on the Pacific Highway at Ocean Shores.

Yesterday his Mullumbimby Giants team-mates said Matt would be their inspiration to play their best this year. "He was always a competitor. He never gave up. He'd want us to give it everything," Giants player Aaron Cook said.

Matt moved to the North Coast when he was eight, attending Ocean Shores Primary School and then Mt St Patrick College at Murwillumbah, where he graduated from Year 12 last year. According to Matt's mates, he was a tough competitor, but a softie at heart. He 'smashed it' on the footy field, but had Michael Jackson in his stereo.

"I remember he missed footy training because he was in the school choir only because you get a camp and three days off school. Matt was always the one in the middle of the photo with the guitar," Aaron said.

Matt had a love-hate relationship with teachers because he would act cheeky, then give a big smile and be forgiven.

It was the same smile he gave his under-18's football coach for the Mullumbimby Giants, Joel Christie.

"He was hard to get angry with. He'd look at you and smile and you couldn't do anything," Mr Christie said. He also said Matt 'lived to play footy'.

Last season Matt fractured his jaw. He took seven weeks off and the first game he played was the grand final.

The team won and it was their first premiership together.

During the summer break Mr Christie said Matt called him at least 15 times to check when training started back.

Matt's other passion was surf life saving and surfboat rowing. He was a member of Brunswick Heads Surf Life Saving Club and showed the potential to become a professional lifeguard, according to the club's president Craig Reid.

Friend Sam Martin said Matt announced one day he was going in the rowing championships, he just didn't know how to row yet.

His rowing coach and boat sweep Stewart White said at first Matt couldn't say which way to sit in the boat.

That was in October. Since then Matt's team competed successfully at three carnivals. Mullumbimby Giants juniors coach Todd Martin described Matt as a 'happy go-lucky kid with a bit of cheek in him'. He said fitness was Matt's passion and having just graduated Year 12, he wanted to do a personal training course.

Matt's funeral will be held on Monday at Mt St Patrick at 11am.



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