Wallaroos skipper Shannon Parry this week picked up a paintbrush to join Buildcorp contractors in a reno rescue to spruce up her old Redlands Mud Crabs Rugby Club.
Tuesday’s working bee provided a quick and essential upgrade for the small Brisbane club that it could not afford and had already waited years to get to.
There were smiles all round, especially from the Muddies juniors who joined in to add a lick of fresh green paint when it wasn’t daubed on their own cheeks and shoes.
Buildcorp’s $30 million construction project to build the National Rugby Training Centre (NRTC) and the new McLean Stand at Ballymore is already having worthy spin-offs.
Working bees at Redlands and Redcliffe Rugby Clubs were all part of Buildcorp giving back to the rugby community with free expertise and manpower.
The rugby-minded company has already stepped up as naming rights partner for the Reds Academy for 2023-24 on top of long-standing sponsorships of the Wallaroos, Sydney University and the University of Queensland.
“It would have taken us years to do what this generosity accomplished in a day because cost of living rises have made this one of the hardest years to find sponsors for a small community club,” Redlands RC secretary Jo Wild said.
“This is a huge deal for us and will make a difference for our 400 juniors.”
In a few busy hours, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and metalworkers replaced lights, added a water bottle refill station, replaced the rusted uprights to the scoreboard, removed two wooden poles intruding on a juniors’ space, put in new all-weather tabletops and painted the outdoor terrace.
For Parry, it was a flashback to how the proud suburban club’s can-do approach has always found a way under local legends like former President Tiki Tuapou.
“When I came to Redlands with (former Wallaroo) Cheyenne Campbell in 2011, the club could not have been more supportive of starting up a women’s team for the first time,” Parry said.
“A coach, new jerseys with a ladies fit, field space, balls, a sponsor, reduced fees, welcoming members...it was a credit to the club and we made the grand final in year one.
“Days like this make a big difference for a community club. The club had been wanting to pull out those two wooden poles for years.”
Parry is excited by the Wallaroos’ state-of-the-art training base taking shape at Ballymore and its mid-2023 opening. At 33, the veteran flanker might still make use of the plunge pool, gym and unisex dressing rooms.
She did remain coy on her playing future.
“It was a massive achievement to beat Scotland and Wales at the World Cup in New Zealand and see the growing profile of women’s rugby,” Parry said.
“The advances for the Wallaroos are a testament to the work that has gone in on many levels. I think it’s the starting point for women’s XVs in Australia with the World Cup coming to Australia in 2029.
“The girls are all looking forward to what is ahead.
“We’ll all have a nice break over Chrissy and look to rip into Super W next year.
“As for me, I’m on leave right now. I’ll make a decision probably early next year about what the future might hold. It’s important you make the right decision, not just for yourself but for your family as well. Everything will be considered.
“If I can go around for another couple of years, why not. Maybe.”
Even Parry’s time-off is filled with rugby because her role as Australia’s Youth Sevens coach will take her back to NZ next week with a talented young squad.
Redlands’ overused barbecue broke down irreparably recently so Buildcorp duo Mike Currie and James Hanson even whistled up a new barbecue as a gift for bacon-and-egg burgers to start the working bee.
“When there was talk of Buildcorp coming on board to construct the NRTC and the new McLean Stand, we spoke then of giving back to the community as well,” said Currie, the company’s Queensland General Manager.
“Creating pathways is a focus of the company which is why supporting the Reds Academy and the two university clubs is such a good fit.”
Hanson, the former Wallabies hooker, has come on board as Buildcorp Marketing and Client Relations Manager.
“Buildcorp has always seen the game as beyond just High-Performance. That’s just one part of the whole journey that we are involved in,” Hanson said.
“Buying a new barbecue for Redlands just had to be done...you can’t be a rugby club without a barbie.”