Maryborough legend of rugby league honoured with OAM
His services to rugby league have earned a Maryborough man an Order of Australia Medal.
Paul Goener was honoured for his contribution to the sport as a longtime referee.
The 89-year-old, who died in November last year, was named the Fraser Coast rugby league referee of the decade in 2008, before he came out of retirement in 2009 to help referee a match between Maryborough and Brisbane.
The match was held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first game of league played in the Heritage City.
Mr Goener was battling prostate cancer at the time, but that didn’t stop him from taking part in the historic match.
During his career as a referee, Goener just didn’t officiate in games on the Fraser Coast – he was seen in action during games played at the highest level.
He was a touch judge for the 1972 Test match between Australia and New Zealand at the then Lang Park in Brisbane and he also ran the line during three Queensland and New South Wales showdowns before State of Origin became an annual tradition.
Mr Goener, who was also an Australian and Queensland Aussi Masters swimming champion, said he couldn’t believe it when he got a letter from Queensland Rugby League Wide Bay Division asking him to do the job.
“I really just couldn’t believe it – it was such a huge surprise,” Mr Goener said at the time.
“Life’s been tough for a while now but this honour, and that’s what it is, has given me something to really smile about.
“I loved it every minute of my career and I’ve always said that I’d do it all again if I could – now I’ve got a chance to relive it all, well, for 80 minutes.
“I couldn’t be happier I can tell you. I feel so humble.”