Capricorn Coast Crocs club stalwart Brett Shackleton is set to cement himself in Central Queensland Rugby folklore, as his notches his 400th cap for the club in this afternoon’s clash against the Frenchville Pioneers.
45-year-old Shackleton’s service to the club dates back nearly three decades, with the lock beginning his connection with the Crocs back in 1992.
“Back in 92, I was waiting around for a game of basketball after school and there was a group of schoolboys who were playing Rugby and were short a few numbers and they asked if I was interested in playing,” said Shackleton.
“I had played some league when I was younger and wasn’t afraid of contact and it went from there. The Cap Coast Crocs was the local club and I signed up and they gave me the gift of Rugby.”
Shackleton played his first full season with the Crocs in 1993 and his budding career in Rugby Union saw his father, who he credits as a major influence, catch the same infectious interest in the game.
“I brought Dad along to the club, he was an avid league fan and then he started to watch me and still being pretty active himself he wanted to get amongst it and he got to love the game and the club as well.”
Shackleton’s father joined the club and played from his late 40s through to his early 50s. Now past 40-years-old and with his own children, there is a chance Shackleton’s Rugby career might continue on a few more years so he can welcome a third-generation family member to the club.
“My boys, when they were younger played Rugby, they went away and have tried a variety of sports and we’ve let them experience that. The older one is now 16 and he is talking about getting back into it. Obviously if I’ve still got two legs to stand on and few braincells to rub together I’ll lace up the boots for a game with him.”
Given Shackleton’s longevity in the game, the question must be asked how he has managed to remain fit and healthy for as long as he has.
“It’s definitely luck amongst a few other things,” he said.
“I was born here in Yeppoon and was active as a kid, as a family we were all sporty, and I think that prepped my body.
“I’ve been lucky to have permanent employment in the area, I haven’t had to chase work, and I’ve managed to avoid any major injuries and have looked after anything minor.”
Shackleton has experienced all that the club has had to offer for the better part of 30 years, which makes picking a favourite memory a challenge.
“We’ve won some premierships over the years but nothing I can really pinpoint. You run into a lot blokes you’ve played with, be that travelling in Brisbane or even out in Fiji. The mateship is what I think is my favourite thing, every time you run into someone you played with, or you just go down to the field, you’re reminded of those good times.”
Shackleton embodies the true spirit of Rugby and his long standing service to the game in Central Queensland and specifically at the Capricorn Coast Crocs is a great achievement worth celebrating this weekend.