Greg Sutherland died yesterday.
Greg Sutherland died yesterday. Peter Holt

Mackay Rugby League icon Greg Sutherland dies

THE MACKAY community is in mourning after "Mr Rugby League" Greg Sutherland died of a heart attack on Sunday.

Greg was a stalwart of the Mackay rugby league community and was instrumental in getting Stadium Mackay opened in 2011, and bringing annual Cowboy's matches to the region.

Just last month, as Mackay & District Rugbly League director, Greg was preparing to celebrate the North Queensland Cowboys paying a visit to region after their historic NRL Grand Final win.

"They are the North Queensland Cowboys, not the Townsville Cowboys, I think that everyone from the north should be able to join in the celebrations," he said.
 


He paid tribute to the team for setting an example that young people did not have to leave their regional homes to pursue their sporting dreams.

"Young people now know that they don't have to leave home to be able to achieve," he said.

"They've got the local club competition, the Cutters, and we are a direct feeder into the North Queensland Cowboys.

"For many years people have left home to try and make it. Maybe now some of them will realise they can do it from here."

Greg was in 2012 recognised as the region's Citizen of the year.

On top of being the Mackay Stadium Committee Chair, Greg was also a Mackay Rotary Club president and the chair of the Aboriginal and Islanders Development Association.

He would dedicate much of his time to supporting the Indigenous communities in Mackay with skills training and employment assistance.

Greg was a legend in rugby league circles, even beyond the borders of Mackay.

As he recovered from heart bypass surgery in 2010, the North Queensland Cowboys' executive director at the time, Peter Parr paid homage to the man he knew would recover.

"Greg is very well thought of at every level of the game, whether it be local club football, North Queensland, the Cowboys or the QRL," Mr Parr said.

"Everyone at our club has the very highest regard for him and hope he recovers quickly."



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