Sport

Bloodline runs thick for young and old Snakes

FAMILY TIES: Ray, Chris, Ben and Josh Totoro will play in the Caboolture Snakes exhibition match celebrating the club's 70th birthday.
FAMILY TIES: Ray, Chris, Ben and Josh Totoro will play in the Caboolture Snakes exhibition match celebrating the club's 70th birthday. Luke Simmonds

RUGBY LEAGUE: Ray Totoro was only six or seven when the Caboolture Snakes Rugby League Club named Apex Park after his grandfather and founding member Bob Day.

When Totoro started as a four-year-old, his dad was managing the A grade team and his uncle was the coach.

Forty years later, after a lengthy playing career and a stint as vice-president, Totoro is still at the club that his family has so much history with.

He coaches two of his sons in the under-16s and under-18s, while his eldest plays A grade and reserves for the seniors.

"Whether you like the town or not, the footy team is in your blood; people grow out of it, but I haven't, I guess,” he said.

"I've gone and played at other clubs, but I've always been a Snakey.

"I don't know how pivotal (Bob Day) was in the early years, I just remember being down there when they named (the ground) after him and thinking it was unbelievable.

"My grandfather died in '78 and it was always known as Apex Park until then.”

Day's ashes were spread over the oval after he died.

Totoro said the club had changed dramatically since he started as a junior four decades ago.

"I can remember when it was a little green shed on top of the hill, now we have a fantastic club house and score booth - even those little changes alone are massive,” he said.

"We've been getting a lot of help from the council to keep the quality of the ground up - you only had to spit on the ground back then and it was unplayable back in those days.

"I can remember we only had one side for every age group, now we've got multiple sides in each.”

This year marks a special moment when the senior club turns 70, while the junior club turns 50.

To celebrate the future and commemorate all that's come before, the Snakes are holding an exhibition match between the club's father-sons and the junior club coaches on August 12.

It will be played after the final match of the season when the seniors face the Noosa Pirates in what is shaping up to be a big match in the context of their season.

But things haven't always been smooth sailing for Caboolture.

As recently as 2006, the Snakes played as the Maroochydore Swans' reserve side at senior level after a major collapse.

Current president Tangi Marsters has been with the club since 1987 and remembers the darker days.

"In the early '90s we used to pay our players because there was good sponsorship back in those days,” he said.

"There were not phones or internet in those days so everyone just played rugby or rugby league.

"We had a collapse in the '90s when someone took all the player money and funds were misplaced.”

The club struggled to field a senior side and only recently returned to top tier.


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