Wayne’s World – Wayne Carter
A Wests life member, Wayne Carter would love nothing more than for everyone in Brisbane to come down to Sylvan road for a beer, a laugh and a chat.
If don’t already know Wayne Carter, you should. He’s the guy who’ll come up to you and say hello, even if you’ve never met him. The guy who walks along Sylvan Road to visit his spiritual home and welcome the newbies.
Wayne’s association with Wests began in 1968 and, even though he’s spent time away, he’s always stayed part of the club.
Leaving Gregory Terrace, Wayne found himself running around 4th Grade and slowly working his way up to be part of the 1st and 2nd Grade sides from 1970 till 1975. For such a tall, lanky character, it’s always funny to press Wayne about his days running around as a hooker, given his build.
Having been part of the club for so long, I asked Wayne about the most talented players he has seen in our great colours.
“I never played with Roger Gould, but I think Roger Gould was probably the most outstanding player at Wests” Wayne said.
“There was a lot of guys who were very very very good players who never got to play for Queensland”
Once his playing days were over, Wayne began to take up running to continue his passion and stay healthy, always checking up on how the Bulldogs were travelling and catching a game from time to time.
Wayne’s connection, however, goes deeper than just his playing days. He was, and still is an avid supporter and volunteer.
Wayne reconnected with the club in 2002, when Phil Mooney asked him to be the Premier Grade Manager and, knowing Wayne, he would’ve said yes in a heartbeat. The job allowed him to get to know the players and to just talk to them, something which is close to Wayne’s heart.
“My big thing is we are a club. I like to introduce myself and get guys who are outsiders to feel comfortable”
Listening to Wayne, he can recall every coach and assistant he worked with within seconds, all with a beaming smile on his face. Such names evoke passionate memories of
both the good times, including the famous 2006 premiership and some of the dark times that followed.
“When that whistle blew in 2006 when we beat Brothers 23-22, I wasn’t on the field, but it just gave me so much pleasure that all the work that had gone on for a couple of years had finally paid off with a Premiership”
Following success came a struggle. A struggle which was Wayne believes comes down to the development of colts, our future grade players.
“Wests in the 80’s and 90’s had the best colts in Brisbane. We won Premiership after Premiership after Premiership” Wayne said.
“In the early to mid-2000’s we let that slip and when you lose those colts your grades will fall away”
“The big change that we’ve made here now is that we have people in like Mick Tunny (Colts 1 coach) and Tim West (Director of Rugby) as well as the players who have all taken this on board to improve the club and it just doesn’t change overnight”
In his 50 years here, Wayne has seen all the change in the world but none more exciting than the last 2 years, believing that “The biggest thing that has ever happened here is this (the new facilities and club house)”
Yet with so much change, the strong roots that he first saw all those years ago remain the same.
“I think the big thing with Wests players is that they support each other”
“You always hear about this Brothers culture, but every club has their own culture and I think Wests has a wonderful culture”
“The great thing about Wests is that you can come from all different walks of life and all different occupations”
“Wests is a working-class club and it’s great”
I asked Wayne what the future holds for Wests, seeing as he has seen the last 50 and is bound to see the next 10. He stays true to his word that the colts program is vitally important and will serve to continue to develop not just our playing stocks, but the bulldogs community as a whole.
“The colts of today and the colts who have just graduated are fantastic. The respect they show to everyone is terrific and that’s what we need to keep creating and keep working to all support each other and the club”
“We’re not individuals, we are all one (club) and that’s what I like about the young guys we’ve had over the last few years and if we can continue doing that all our grades will be strong”
Over my short time at the club, I’ve had the pleasure to be able to be in the company of Wayne Carter. Wayne has the natural ability to bring people together through his kind nature and that is something that makes him a club legend.
He genuinely cares.
But no matter how much I try, he promises me that this is not about him. He is truly a selfless individual.
“I believe the club has done more for me than I have ever done for the club. It’s a fact”
It almost sums Wayne up as a whole.
Having seen the club at its best and its worst, Wayne is a true club man.
Finally, as we move towards Old Boys Day, I asked Wayne who he would love to see down at the Kennel.
“I’d just like to see everyone here (for Old Boys Day). People who I don’t even know who are Wests people, they’re all part of it and I want them to be here”
Oh, he also mentioned a tale of Wests v Brothers game. Something about a punch up, a broken nose and the late, great Stan Pilecki.
You put it together.
To see Wayne and many other Bulldog club legends, come down to the Kennel on the 28th of July for Old Boys Day against Brothers.
Written by Ned Stevens