Brett plays in a mates memory

TIMING is a funny thing – it can be crucial in life.

And the essence of its power can be seen in the Far North Coast rugby union match of the round today.

The Ballina Seahorses and Wollongbar-Alstonville Pioneers will honour a life taken too soon when they play for the Dane Cupitt Memorial Shield.

A tragic car accident took Cupitt from his family – he had played rugby for the Seahorses and Pioneers.

As an 18-year-old, Cupitt was part of the Seahorses’ premiership-winning Under-19 team.

Also part of that team was his good mate, Brett McLennan.

McLennan has been toiling in the Seahorses’ lower grades in 2010 but a series of injuries has seen him promoted to the starting back-row for the match that honours his mate.

Timing can be a funny thing.

The 30-year-old loves playing footy full-stop, but nothing compares to turning out for this match.

“I could give footy away tomorrow and it wouldn’t bother me as long as I get to play in this game,” McLennan said.

A photo of the smiling Cupitt adorns the wall behind the bar at the Seahorses clubhouse – alongside it, the shield which the club holds.

McLennan views that scene often and he does not want to see the picture of his mate hanging without the shield.

“This match means so much to me, Dane’s family, and the club,” he said.

“There aren’t many of us left who know the story, but I will be around to keep reminding people exactly what they are playing for.”

On Thursday night McLennan was asked to give a speech to the players.

“I just tried to pass the passion that I have on to the rest of the boys,” he said.

“It is a real big deal for us and the more we tell the story, the longer his memory will live on.

“I don’t ever want this game to be lost.”

McLennan has become something of a rock for Noel and Marg Cupitt over the years – he knows where they will be this afternoon.

“They are probably the last people I will see before I run out,” he said.

“They turn up at this game every year, without fail.”

It’s a big match, an emotional time for McLennan, but he is more than happy to do what he can to ensure the memory of his mate lives on.

In other games today, Casino will look to make it three wins on the trot when they host Lennox Head at Albert Park; and cellar-dwellers Grafton and SCU fight for the points at Grafton.

All games start at 3.10pm.

Lismore has the bye.

TEAMS: PAGE 92



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