The Queensland Rugby community is mourning the sudden deaths of former Queensland Reds Stephen Tait and David Logan in the Moreton Bay boating tragedy.
Police identified both Tait and Logan as victims of the boat capsize near Green Island, in Moreton Bay, when a vicious storm hit their annual Boxing Day fishing trip. Three men perished in the tragic accident and eight were rescued.
Logan, 69, is being remembered as a much-loved Brothers centre who won nine caps for Queensland between 1974-76 as Queensland representative #884.
He made his Reds debut against Victoria in Melbourne in 1974 and was well known for his ankle-high tackling and turn of pace.
He won multiple premierships between 1974-82 in some of the greatest of Brothers sides alongside Tony Shaw, Paul McLean and others during a golden era for the club.
Former Wallabies and club-mates Tony Shaw and Dick Cocks yesterday raised an emotional toast at the Peregian Hotel, on the Sunshine Coast, to a great friend taken far too early.
Logan scored a key try in the tense 1978 grand final, won 19-15 over University of Queensland, when Cocks was captain-coach.
It was Cocks who bestowed the nickname “Mario” on Logan because his dark mop of curled locks and moustache gave him the look of an Italian. At least it did to Cocks. It stuck for the rest of his life.
“Dave was one of the best guys you could ever know. It’s a great loss,” Cocks said.
“He could be very serious about his footy but he had a great sense of fun.”
Cocks and Logan would have Brothers clubmates in fits of laughter re-enacting professional wrestling bouts and holds.
Former Wallaby David L’Estrange saw the young Logan emerge in first grade in the premiership years of 1974 and 1975 at Brothers.
“Dave was always so full of fun, life and positivity. We’d do extra sprints and kicking practice at training in the old days because of his drive to be the best player he could be,” L’Estrange said.
“Off the field, he loved to pull tricks or do the best impersonation you could imagine of our old coach Jim Kenny, complete with a rolled-up match program banging it into his hand.”
Tait, 59, generated the same fond memories from all who knew him. The livewire halfback might have played much more for his state but for the presence of Wallabies Peter Slattery and Brian Smith in Brisbane at the same time in the mid-1980s.
Tait’s class won out for him to become Queensland representative #986. He played a key role in Souths’ drought-breaking 1986 premiership. He was a key try-scorer in the 31-13 victory over Brothers at Ballymore.
He played 14 times for Queensland after making his debut during a wild match at Crosby Park during the 1987 World Cup when Queensland fielded a side against the touring French side Languedoc.
Two-time World Cup-winner Dan Crowley made his Queensland debut beside Tait in that game against Languedoc.
“It’s amazing how ‘Taity’ and ‘Mario’ could both be gone so suddenly together. They were two of the nicest people. It's hard to believe,” Crowley said.
“Both had the same laidback manner and no one had a bad word about them.”
Tait passed on life lessons in a long teaching career at Iona College that broadened respect for him.
“My young fella Tom went to Iona. If the boys talked about their favourite teacher, it was ‘Taity'," Crowley added.
On the field, Tait’s sharp speed from the ruckbase and from scrums generated numerous tries for the top Souths sides of the 1980s. He won the 1986 premiership with Wallabies legend Andrew Slack in the backline and made grand finals with teen prodigies Tim Horan and Jason Little.
“We obviously had a decent pack in those days but Taity was the link to get the most out of the side and the backline outside him with the Horans, Littles and others,” Crowley said.
“Taity was underrated and could easily have played more games for Queensland in a different era.”
Funeral details are yet to be announced.