NRL members who go to games this week are in the running for a share of $65,000 worth of prizes. Copyright: Charles Knight/NRL Photos. Credit: Charles Knight/NRL Photos Copyright: Charles Knight/NRL Photos
On March 6, 1988, Wally Lewis led a newly-formed Brisbane Broncos side in a 44-10 demolition of defending premiers Manly in front of over 17,000 raucous Queenslanders at Lang Park.
Making their debut in the famous maroon, gold and white jersey that day were illustrious names like Langer, Myles, Dowling and Niebling. And right there in the stands wearing the same maroon, gold and white was new member Frankie O'Leary, who has been with the Broncos through thick and thin ever since.
"It was actually the first time we'd been to a rugby league match, and we just fell in love with the club and the game there and then," said Frankie, who will of course be at Suncorp Stadium for the Broncos Member's Round clash with the Cowboys this Friday.
Club members who turn out to games this weekend will go into a match day draw for a share of a $65,000 prize pool
, with the winners to be announced live at the venue at every game across this weekend.
"This is the game's way of saying thank you to our members on match day for supporting their clubs early in the season," NRL Head of Commercial Paul Kind said.
"The opportunity will be open to every member at every match this weekend. It will also be open to members whose home games are in Rounds 3 and 4.
"So every member that attends their home game is in with a chance to win."
But for Frankie, it's not about the prizes but the chance to show her support by any means possible, including being a founding member of the Willie Carne Fan Club, and making her own supporters gear.
"Even though Wayne Bennett didn't really like one player being singled out we all thought Willie Carne was fantastic on the wing in the early 90's," said Frankie.
"He was a bit of a mad man with the way he ran so hard on the wing, but we all loved him and to this day he's a very nice person who we still keep in contact with."
And the DIY merchandise?
"Back when the club started we would make our own Broncos merchandise and things to show our support because in those days there wasn't much NRL gear for the clubs.
"Things like printing t-shirts, making scarves and other things so it was a bit of DIY and anything maroon, gold or white in the house was used."
As the NRL aims to double each club's membership numbers by 2017, Frankie encouraged prospective members to join in and experience the match day atmosphere that cannot be beaten.
"It's really worthwhile to follow your team and when you're at the game and part of the action it's so much better than watching on TV.
"The atmosphere, the players and the fans makes the experience more personal and it doesn't compare to sitting at home."
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