It feels like it is a family member…
I have said this before, we come for rugby league, but we stay for the Cowboys.
Two weeks ago, Cowboys fans received the shocking news that Matt Scott, club hero, had suffered a minor stroke.
In a year that has brought a most horrific injury toll, including broken bones, ACL tears, concussions, a ruptured spleen and a brain bleed, the news of Cowboys stalwart and 16-year veteran Scott, was almost too much.
Fans quickly rallied with messages of support for Scott who, over his 269 games in the Cowboys jersey, has won the hearts of faithful followers and cemented himself as one of the most adored and decorated players to ever wear the Cowboys colours.
It can be a tough gig being a fan sometimes, and the news of what had happened to Scott was one of those times. I didn’t get much sleep that night because I was worried about him, his wife, and his two small children. Though all reports since his stroke have indicated he will make a full recovery, why he had stroke in the first place remains the question. I know I was not the only fan who was affected by the news. Literally hundreds of supporters took to social media to show their support and to try and process how they were feeling.
The hardest part of being a fan in these types of situations is that you genuinely feel like it is one of your family members. Of course, it isn’t and many of us may have never even met Matt Scott. Yet, such is the bond that is created with being part of a club, if we were able to go visit him in hospital, many of us would have flocked to be there.
It is also in times like these when you feel the full force of what the club’s words Believe and Belong mean. Since the Cowboys inception back in 1995 we have grown strong in numbers and we have created our tribe, we wear our jerseys with pride, we ride the ups and the downs and we feel passionately about not just the club, but the players.
If a family makes a home, then it is fair to say it is the players who make a club. As fans we could not have asked for a better player to have represented our club over the years than Matt Scott. He is the heart and soul of our team. A one club man born and bred in North Queensland, hailing from the little country town of Ilfracombe. He has been our captain and he helped to win our first premiership. On his broad shoulders Scott has embodied the culture and expectation of what it means to be a North Queensland Cowboy, and going forward, he is surely the benchmark of what it should mean to be a club, community and family man.
Though this unfortunate health scare means that he bows out a few rounds early of what was to be the final season in a decorated career and he will not be running out onto the field for his last home game at 1300SMILES, I am sure the Cowboys faithful and the club will put on an almighty show for the man we affectionally call Thumper. There is no doubt that he deserves it.
As we count down to our final home game at 1300SMILES Stadium against the Bulldogs tonight, over the past week’s fans have been asked to share their memories of great times shared together within her walls. I hope that in the years to come one of the moments that make the #MilestonesandMemories list is the last home game for Matt Scott; though he won’t be there to run out on to the field, he has surely been part of our milestones and he is certainly forever part of the memories that we are all so proud to share.
At home last week we had a win against the Penrith Panthers in Friday night footy. We were not playing for our season, but they were. What they met up in Townsville was a team who rallied and played for their forward who has never taken a backward step and who has led the way so many times with his strength, courage and toughness. The team showed that same toughness that night and they deserved the win and there was no doubt who they played that game for.
After all is said and done, there is nothing more important than the health and happiness of the players in the team we love so much. Seasons will come and go and wins are always nice, but when it is all over, players like Matt Scott deserve to go home happy and healthy to their family and friends, and we deserve to be able to have a beer with him should we ever be lucky enough to run into the big man on The Strand.
As part of this proud club, we come together in times like these, we galvanise and we become stronger. In many ways it has been a season some will say we should forget; but it is at our lowest moments that we truly find out what we are made of.
Matt Scott won’t be giving up on the Cowboys, and I sure won’t be either.
On behalf of all Cowboys fans, get well soon, Thumper.