Friendships key to life at Wallabys rugby league
RUGBY LEAGUE: While legends will be made in tomorrow night's State of Origin, Gladstone already has its own and he still runs around for his beloved Wallabys at 46-year's-young.
Ashley Dodd was just a young fella when he fell in love with league.
"I was seven years old playing for Western Suburbs here in Gladstone and I played in bare feet with a leather ball which was hard as a rock," Dodd recalled.
"My uncle Bert was our coach and I played with all my cousins."
He is now in his 26th season of senior footy for the Wallabys as they prepare for a crucial game against Calliope Roosters on Saturday.
Dodd has also played for QASC Little Devils, Tannum Seagulls as well as Eidsvold Eagles.
"I have made Gladstone representative sides in junior and senior years and CQ Capras," he said.
Dodd has played in all positions and one in which he won't suit up in again.
"I've played them all even front rower and that didn't end well for me," he laughed.
Dodd said there were too many good players to choose from who he played with and against.
"There were so many to choose from, but against was Chris Larson and Gerard Temu," he said.
"Best players I played with were Mick Ghee and Greg Donald and they had a sixth sense of knowing what each other were doing and reading the play.
"Adam Hamilton, Ronnie Craig and Matty Baker, who I scored tries off, were the others.
"Fabian Soutar and Aaron Farrah were the toughest players and another two tough players I played with were Rob Hamilton and Bucky Rodgers."
Dodd was part of the Wallabys' 1996 A-grade premiership side and he also won a flag with the under-17 team.
"Winning two A-grade extended league grand finals and Wallabys are still the only Gladstone team to that and I've played in a lot of grand finals," he said.
"I've won a lot of them, but I always remember the ones I lost the most and the bonds made with all my team mates and celebrating mad Mondays."
Dodd's impressive playing CV does not stop here.
He won numerous player of the year awards, best back, best utility, most consistent, coach's award, most player votes, Brad Hill Memorial, Spirit Award, Allan Wort Memorial in both A-grade and reserves.
While winning premierships and individual awards were a highlight, Dodd did suggest that probably his greatest highlight was as per below.
"Playing footy with my son Coen was a great moment and not too many players can say that," he said.
Dodd also scored 32 tries in one season.
"Show and go was on point that year with all my premiership wins, scoring a try at ANZ Stadium while playing for Capras," he said