Farewell to Garth, a loyal Tiger, footy fan


THE Ipswich Rugby League world was saddened with the recent passing of a man that loved the sport and loved helping out after his playing days finished.

Garth Heidke was a loyal Norths Tiger who spent more than 40 years at the North Ipswich based club.

Garth has always had football around him. That was through the deeds of his grandfather Les "Monty" Heidke, who was a legend in Ipswich circles and went on to represent Queensland and Australia, and also his father Kelvyn, who is a multiple premiership-winning coach at Norths and a life member of Rugby League Ipswich.

Garth loved the game from an early age. He was a keen learner and tasted junior success on several occasions, culminating in an under-18 grand final victory in 1989.

He progressed through the grades and hone his skills year after year and major glory came knocking in 1994 when the Tigers won the A-Grade Premiership.

Not one to rest on his laurels, he maintained his steely determination.

In 1995, he would see the Tigers win back-to-back titles with Garth playing a courageous part.

This victory was ever so sweet as he scored his first try of the season in the second half, giving the Tigers some breathing space. But it was his toughness that was spoken about after the game with Garth playing the second half with serious knee injury.

The camaraderie and family-like atmosphere at the Tigers and his family's lifelong love for the club meant he was never going to just be one to sit back and watch after his playing days had ended.

He joined the committee, he volunteered, he coached and managed sides and basically did whatever was asked of him with no argument or fuss.

In 2019, he would see his days as 2nd Division coach after many years end, when he was promoted to coach the Norths Reserve Grade side that year.

Garth was quietly spoken but his football knowledge was loud and proud and the players that played for him loved him style and coaching ethics.

Garth not only coached the boys in football skills but he taught them what the Norths culture was. It was culture that he had learnt from the previous greats of the club like the Langers and the Kaatzs.

I met Garth many, many years ago and every time I would visit the Norths club he would always have a smile on his face as he was doing one of the many voluntary jobs that keep community clubs going.

Garth was a champion bloke, great volunteer but more importantly he was a loyal Tiger to the end.

RIP Garth.

Quick thoughts

POSITIVE: 1. The NRL is back and finally we now have some live action to watch on our TVs. It has been a long struggle with many hurdles to overcome but the hurdles have now been knocked down and the 2020 action continues.

2. The film makers of the Last Dance must be applauded for a documentary series that had you wanting to watch the whole series in the one night. It was great from the start to the end and showed many how the superstars of sport get to their final achievements.

Negative: 1. The drugs headlines that appeared this week is not a good look for rugby league and must again send a warning to any up and coming players that drugs are not the answer.

2. The Cody Walker incident should be put to bed but owner Russell Crowe wants to look at appealing the penalties. I think its time that Russell looks more into why several of his players ain't toeing the line.

Sporting birthdays: 1. 1904 - Hubert Opperman (Australian road cyclist who held multiple world records was born in Victoria).

2. 1974 - Stephan Larkham (champion Australian fly half who was capped 102 times).

3. 1984 - Carmelo Anthony (champion US basketballer who was a 10 time All Star).

On this day: 1. 1954 - British runner Diane Leather becomes the first female athlete to run under five minutes for the mile (4.59.60).

2. 1977 - Australian Sue Prell becomes the first female to hit back-to-back hole in ones, achieving this feat in Sydney.

3. 1980 - Larry Bird pips Magic Johnson to become NBA Rookie of the Year.