How a tinnie kept afloat a Rugby League passion

There is dedication to Rugby League and then there is the Price family of Forbes.

Damian Price and his daughter Sarah were gearing up for a weekend match with the Dubbo Wiradjuri Goannas in Wellington, while keeping one eye on a swollen Lachlan River in NSW’s central west.

Sarah plays for the Goannas Under 12s tackle team and she’s also a member of the Red Bend Blues League Tag team.

So, there’s a strong commitment to the game from the Prices – even when Mother Nature comes calling.

“It was a normal Saturday game and on the Friday afternoon, the water was only ankle deep, so we thought ‘Yep, we’ll be able to drive out in the morning’.”

The Price family home on two-and-a-half hectares is located 200 meters from the road into Forbes.

But as Saturday dawned the water from the Lachlan River was above-the-knee and rising. They couldn’t get to their front gate.

“So, we got the tinnie out and when we got out onto Bedgerabong Road it was over a meter deep,” Price said.

So Damian and Sarah ‘drove’ their boat along the bitumen road normally used by cars, to rendezvous with another father Blake Goodsall and his daughter on dry land.

“Blake was able to drive them to the game as I couldn’t get my car out. We just didn’t think the river would rise that fast,” Price said.

Other players from farms further afield stayed overnight in Forbes so they could get to Wellington.

Sarah came home the same way – with her father waiting in the tinnie at the meeting point.

“She plays League Tag too but she just loves the tackle game,” he said.

“I’ve got a son too and I love seeing the girls give it to the boys in matches – they hold their own very well.

“I said to her, ‘Once we commit to the team we’ve got to support them no matter what.’

“That’s what she did and I did my part to make sure she didn’t miss out.”

The competition schedule has continued to be disrupted by the flooding. The families are used to long journey to get to the games – by boat is a new dimension though.

“We’ve got five girls from Forbes who play with the Goannas in Dubbo (150km away); it’s an hour-and-a-half drive away, but we go there every week,” Price said.

“We don’t ever play in Forbes – the closest game is Grenfell (80km) – but we’re hoping the League Tag will evolve into a tackle comp for the girls.

“A lot of these girls have a dream to play NRLW. And the dads here like me aren’t anything special.

“We just want to help our girls succeed and follow their dreams – we don’t want to let them down.

“I grew up in central Queensland and we drove two hours to training every week – it’s just what you have to do. We love Rugby League that much.”

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