Ghosts of Gridiron
The original concept for the Ghosts of Gridiron came about as a result of the devastating floods and cyclones that ravaged much of the Queensland coast in early 2011. Many current and past players and their families were affected by the disaster and a group of former players thought about ways they could raise funds to contribute to the Queensland Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal.
Initially the idea was to stage an "old timers" flag game with raffles, auctions and passing the hat but that soon changed. Many of the former players wanted to have one last hit out in full equipment so it was quickly decided that would be the plan. As the Annual Charity Bowl had not been staged for some time it's name was adopted for the game. The word was spread that the game was on although a date and venue was yet to be decided. Two teams needed to be organised, named and uniforms and rules worked out. More than that a name for the entire concept was needed now the game would be the Charity Bowl. Through a joint effort and input from many past and current players the name the Ghosts of Gridiron was arrived at in late February 2011 and two teams drawing from the original four club names in 1985 were agreed on - Blue Steel (Centurions and Pine Grove Steelers) and Wardogs (Brisbane Bulldogs and Mitchie Warriors).
For team colours the Blue Steel would incorporate the Royal Blue of the Centurions and the Gold shared by the Steelers along with the Kelly Green and White the Steelers and the Bayside Razorbacks who joined as the 5th equipment team in 1996. The Wardogs would use the Black and Silver of the Bulldogs and the Red, Black and White of the Warriors. Original Steeler and former Tigers, Warriors, Bulldogs and Rebels player Brad Payne came up with the logos for the game and both teams combining as many of the original, past and present clubs to bring everyone in.
Rules were set that players must be 35 years of age or over on the day of the game regardless of if they were still playing full time or not. Yellow "no hit" vest would be used by those players not wishing to engage in full contact but still participate as much as possible. It was also decided that no matter who scored the final result in the record books would always be a draw.
Spencer Park, Albion became the venue for the game after some great work by founding members of the Warriors Michael Keihl and Lindsay Probin. Lindsay also took on the role of Game Day Manager working full time for many months to make sure everything went smoothly on the day. After approaching GQ plans were made to stage the game - along with the opening round of the colts and senior season - on Saturday August 6th as a triple header. Posters, banners, fliers, social media announcements, phone calls and emails went out all over Australia and around the world to bring in as many past players as possible for this historic game. Eventually more than 80 players would take the field with some flying in from as far away North America and others from all over Australia.