Matthew Harris (left) is resigned to his fate and chats with fellow injured stalwart Lee Williams.
Matthew Harris (left) is resigned to his fate and chats with fellow injured stalwart Lee Williams. Contributed

No fairytale for unlucky heroes

RUGBY LEAGUE: Two of the region's biggest names in rugby league have proven fairytales don't happen in footy.

Both inspiring leaders at their respective clubs, Magpies' Matthew Harris and Wests' Jardine Bobongie will miss the finals - cruelled with severe injuries to their right leg.

For Harris, better known as "Beefy", it was a chance to book-end his career with A-grade premierships.

The 32-year-old had toiled for the past seven seasons with Magpies, playing through pain, never playing a final in that time. Against Moranbah on August 1, Harris fractured his tibial plateau.

"It was disbelief, I thought it was a cork," he said. "I tried to walk around for about five minutes after it happened. I knew in the back of my head, it was a gut-wrenching feeling that I'd miss out on finals."

At 17, Harris played lock in Magpies' 2001 premiership, their most recent. In 2006, he won the Bill Paten Medal and captained Souths Sharks to a title before heading to Redcliffe Dolphins. He returned to local footy in 2009 and tomorrow would have been his first final since.

"Once I was in the car on the way home (from Moranbah Hospital) it sunk in," he said. "I honestly believe, with this team, that I'll miss out on something special. But that's footy and part and parcel of playing the game."

One of the most liked figures in the game, Harris will be missed by his side.

His coach Mick Nielsen said Harris' workload would need to be picked up by several players. The black-and-whites also lost fellow star players, former-Cutter Lee Williams and Sio Alefesio to pectoral injuries on the same afternoon. Harris, who has played with bad back pain for many years, wouldn't rule out a return.

"We'll see how the boys go this year," he said.

"I can't take prolonged periods off work like this."

A weary Magpies player need not look further than 'Beefy' on his bench to find something extra in the finals.

GAME DAY

Junior Rugby League grounds, South Mackay

Tomorrow:

Mine Wealth + Wellbeing A-Grade Cup, Finals

Elimination Final: Magpies v Wests, 1pm

Qualifying Final: Souths v Whitsunday, 3pm

John Donnelly The Good Guys Reserve Grade:

Elimination Final: Moranbah v Magpies, 11am

Qualifying Final: Souths v Whitsunday, 11am

M Group Under 18s

Elimination Final: Magpies v Sarina, 9am

Qualifying Final: Brothers v Whitsunday, 9am