Thursday, November 2, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
The 24th of October was the one-year anniversary of the passing of Paul Wright, a pioneering legend in the Mackay rugby league community.
A week before Mr Wright passed away, he had finished writing his memoir detailing his rich background and commitments with the local rugby league community.
Paul Wright had his first open heart surgery in 2007 and was told by his son, Dane: “Dad, I don’t know that much about you.”
This inspired him to write a short history of his life for his family, before he went in for his first valve replacement operation. Paul realised in the process of his writings, that rugby league had been and still was a massive part of his life.
Over two years of painstaking research went into Paul’s memoir, including two trips to Biloela and Moura to search through newspaper archives and many hours of searching the Daily Mercury archives to finalise his piece.
Paul discovered he had been involved in rugby league in some way, every year since he first played for Salisbury State High School in 1958, some 64 years ago at the time of his writings.
Paul’s accomplishments in the field include coaching thirty-six different Sarina Junior league teams and eight Sarina Senior Rugby League teams.
This year, to recognise his contributions, both Sarina Junior Rugby League and Sarina Senior Rugby League named their coaching awards the ‘Paul Wright Coach of The Year’.
President of Sarina Junior Rugby League Gary Dickson and Vice President of Sarina Rugby League Matt Simpson were both formerly coached by the late Paul Wright, and were the masterminds behind honouring his namesake for the awards.
You can access Paul Wright’s full memoir online at: tinyurl.com/39tus9mt
Or visit his Facebook page in memoriam: facebook.com/groups/290612458740763
Paul Wright (right) and Wendell Sailor, who Paul had a lot to do with as a young squash player in Sarina.
Paul Wright coaching the East Coast ‘F Troop’ in 1978
Paul Wright (far left) coaching Rueben Cotter in 2011
Paul Wright (front, second from left) played for Southern Suburbs in 1965 (Now the Souths Sharks Mackay)
Photos supplied by Paul’s son, Liam Wright