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Sports Column

3/September/2021

I must say that the meeting with both Suzie and Julie Reis, and Essay and Joey Banu, was one of the highlights of my footy week. It was the most emotional time to get together as we were reminiscing about our great mates, Cain Banu, and Allan Reis, who this weekend we will, as a Rugby League family, commemorate them at our Memorial game against Cairns Brothers. A few tears were shed as per usual, but it was a warm feeling of family as we all reminded each other of the precious time both men had had on our lives. In this week’s edition, here are some tributes from myself and great mate, Sam Samperi.

In our lives, we may be given the rare opportunity to spend precious time with someone who is not meant to stay with us for long. Sometimes we do not know; other times, the time is revealed too late. This guy was one of the most  special blokes I have ever met. Well, we did not actually formally meet, we just got to know each other through our love of football, and everything Tully Tigers. You would sit on the sideline with us having a laugh, filling the water bottles, and occasionally giving the ref some heat, such was your cheeky personality. But it was your love that I remember, the hugs, jokes, and constant story telling about someone else’s unfortunate day. One of the last times we spoke was at a home game, where you yelled at me to push you back into the dressing room after the A-grade game, which we had just won. You complained that my arms were like a girl’s because I couldn’t get you in the rooms fast enough for the team victory song. We both laughed when we came in, you gave me a nudge and said “Oi, thanks ay, behave tonight”. I remember giving a speech at your funeral that made me cry for days, because it hit home that I would not get to see you again. Thank you, Allan Reis, for being my friend. Shane Muriata, good mate.We were pretty young when we first met at primary school, but we hit it off immediately. If there was name for our crew of boys, which consisted of the Campbells, Joey Romelo, Chris Muriata, and Cain, it would have been the rat pack, such was our lack of fashion. We would spend many a night around at the Campbells, who loved us all like their own. Then, when footy rolled around, we would all band together to pay for each other’s food, travel, and drinks, as we all had no money but wanted to be a Tiger like our heroes. It wasn’t long before we found out that Cain was a hit man of sorts playing footy, because every weekend, he would make it compulsory that an ambulance had to attend the footy because Cain would make sure someone was put in it courtesy of his shoulders. Years later when Cain had his first kid, Thomas, he was the proudest dad ever. We could all see he was a changed man, and that his family would always come first. We made sure his kids became ours as well, always looking out for them.  Hours before he left us, I sat beside his bed in hospital and asked if he wanted me to do something to make him comfortable. He simply answered “Sammy, put the game on, the Cows are playing”. With that, he had the biggest smile watching the footy, and almost immediately, he was gone. I miss you like crazy brother; I don’t think I ever had a friend like you. Sam Samperi, Best friend.

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