Page 1035 - Week 03 - Thursday, 26 February 2009

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Thursday, 26 February 2009

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Death of Mr Leslie John McIntyre OAM

Motion of condolence

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Services and Minister for Women): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its deep regret at the death of Mr Leslie McIntyre OAM, founder of the Canberra Raiders Rugby League Club, and tenders its profound sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues in their bereavement.

The nation’s capital, and indeed the whole capital region, is saddened this week by the death of Leslie John McIntyre, who might justly be called the founding father of Canberra Rugby League. On behalf of the government, I offer my condolences to his family, his friends and his many acquaintances within and beyond the sporting community. The Chief Minister would have very much liked to speak to this motion, but, along with Mr Steve Doszpot, is attending Mr McIntyre’s funeral this morning. The comments I make are shared by Mr Stanhope and he also conveys his condolences to all who knew Les.

Les McIntyre’s contribution to the life of this city was significant. Those of us who have lived here for long enough recall that there was a time when the Raiders were not the household word they are today, when the exploits and premierships they would deliver to their fans were still in the future. The Raiders are Les McIntyre’s legacy. Tributes have been paid to Les over the past week from many directions. Today he is formally farewelled, but Raiders fans will see his legacy alive and well each time the team runs onto the football field, for decades to come.

While he is best remembered as the driving force behind the Canberra Raiders’ entry into the New South Wales Rugby League in 1982, Les’s passion for football was deep and lifelong. In his youth he was a player, reaching the giddy heights of reserve grade for the Queanbeyan Blues. While he was a solid player, it must be said that his sporting ability was overshadowed by the talent of the many stars whose names he would go on to help make. It was after his playing days were behind him that Les made his greatest contribution to the game he loved. He was involved in an administrative capacity with the Queanbeyan Blues and was instrumental in the establishment of the Queanbeyan Leagues Club.

There were setbacks and challenges in those early years, setbacks that might have sunk a lesser man and a lesser team. A fire in the early 1970s left the Queanbeyan Leagues Club without a headquarters. Les ensured that the club could keep trading, pitching a temporary clubhouse tent on a bowling green, complete with a dance floor and poker machines. That year the club turned a $750,000 profit. Perseverance is a word that has been used to describe Les. Queanbeyan saw that quality in him under

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