Retired RaboDirect Rebel Stirling Mortlock may have hung up the boots, but he remains heavily involved in the Victorian rugby union community.
On Monday night, ‘Stirlo’ hit the highway and headed up to St Patrick’s College in Ballarat, to take part in the school’s rugby presentation night.
The Rebels have spent a significant number of hours in the community since the clubs inception and Monday nights visit highlighted just how important this work is.
Stirling addressed the players, passing on some wisdom and encouragement for the 150 plus rugby fans in attendance.
Community engagement is a vital pillar of the RaboDirect Rebels and the reaction Stirling received in Ballarat showed why.
Director of Sport at St Patrick’s College Chris Gleeson took time out this week, to share his thoughts on the former Wallaby Captain’s visit.
“I am yet to witness anyone near his stature be as receptive, respectful and able to provide such a positive experience as Stirling on Monday night.
“What is often lost on people at grass roots level is the constant time demands of someone such as Stirling at all levels of the sport including elite pathways, corporate, and grass roots for example.
“I have seen many stars not cope with this and not be able to provide maximum impact for their sport which in turn reflects on them as an individual and the sport itself.
“Arrogant, not wanting to engage, constantly looking at their watch, are some examples that come to mind.
“Your organisation must be proud to call him yours and I trust you do all you can to keep him in Melbourne for clearly the sport is in good hands,” Gleeson said.
The Rebels are indeed proud of Stirling and all its players who continue to help grow rugby union in Victoria from the grassroots up.
There is still much work to do, but the club will continue to spread the good word across the state.