Thursday, December 15, 2022
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Tributes have flown following the passing of Mackay rugby league legend Mick ‘Wombat’ Aprile last month.
A tough second row forward who always made 50 tackles a game, Mick played first grade for Mackay Brothers from 1963 until he retired as a player in 1971, winning premierships with the club in 1967 and 1970.
“Mick was a Mackay Brothers man through and through,” said rugby league author and historian Tony Price.
“He might even have been a Leprechaun in another life.”
On the representative front, Mick played Foley Shield for Mackay from 1963 until 1966 and said his fondest memory was playing against the mighty St George club from Sydney in 1964 and 1966 which featured future icons of the game including John Raper and Norm Proven.
Coaching was a natural progression for Mick, taking charge of many junior, school and first grade rugby league teams and as well as serving as a selector, referee and administrator.
When approached by St Patrick’s College to coach their First XIII, he jumped at the challenge, leading the school to five straight Confraternity Shields from 1988 to 1992.
“Mick simply loved ‘Confro’,” said Mr Price.
“He felt his St Patrick’s players lifted as soon as they pulled on the jersey and his natural good humour and tactical mind would turn average players into superstars.
“The young players simply loved the guy.”
Along the way, Mick coached and mentored talented young players including Brett Dallas, Shannon Hegarty and Wendell Sailor, who all went on to play representative football for Queensland and Australia.
After over 50 years involved in the game, Mick was presented with Life Membership of the QRL Northern Division in 2017 and was also recognised as a Life Member of Brothers Junior Rugby League, Brothers Senior Rugby League and Mackay & District Rugby League.
He was awarded Rotary Awards for his services to junior and school sport.
Mick passed away on November 29, 2022 and will be remembered as a legend of the game.
Mick Aprile (third from left) was presented with Life Membership of the QRL Northern Division in 2017