Lifetime of Dolphins’ devotion

Lifetime of Dolphins’ devotion

For Henry Holder, the Redcliffe Dolphins’ 75th anniversary represents a big part of his life – playing, coaching, managing and administering the game and club he loves.

The Margate resident, who is now 84 years old, started playing as a 15-year-old soon after he moved to the Redcliffe peninsula from Canungra.

“There was nothing else to do. So, that was it,” Henry says.

“When I first came here, I didn’t have mates. I had to find them and probably through football is how I found them and I’ve still got them, the same ones … those that are still alive.”

He played every season from 1952-59, in the Murrumba District Rugby League competition and then BRL reserve grade.

Henry, who played in the front and second row, says he enjoyed the physicality of it and playing a team sport.

It is a passion he passed on to his three sons who also played and something he channelled into coaching juniors and managing teams from 1978-2006.

It was during that time that he worked with some of the game’s best coaches and players including Peter Leis, Ian ‘Bunny’ Pierce, Greg Conescu, Mark Murray, Greg Oliphant, Brian Winney, Arthur Beetson, Brent Tate, Chris Close, Troy Lindsay, Trevor Day, John Barber, John Abbott, Ross O’Reilly, John Boxall, Anthony Griffin, John Dixon, Neil Wharton and Petero Civoniceva to name a few.

“I’ve seen them all. There’s been a lot. If I could write a book, it would be full,” he says laughing.

“Bunny was everybody’s favourite. Bunny was a great guy.

“Brent Tate started here and went on and Petero … I had him right from 17s through to when he went away.”

So, it is fair to say he has had a hand in a few rugby league careers?

“I haven’t had many knockers that I know of,” he says.

Lifetime of memories

When asked what the highlights have been, Henry answers quickly.

“Winning premierships. I think I got four of them,” he says.

Henry says the 1994 premiership win with Ross O’Reilly was a highlight as was the first one in 1965.

“I guess I just stuck to it all those years. I never had any arguments with coaches it was just pretty straight forward,” he says.

“I made sure things were right for the team, whether it was here or away.”

Henry has also been a key figure behind the scenes, serving on the football club board since 1992.

“All I’ve got to do now is survive until March (for the Dolphins’ first NRL game) next year,” he says laughing.

“At the moment I think it’s OK, I can’t tell you what tomorrow’s got. I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing and keep going.”

So, what does being a Dolphin mean to him?

“Everything. Once a Dolphin, always a Dolphin,” Henry says.

“Wherever you go, you’ll find one. You always know somebody there. I could go to Cairns, Mackay or Roma and know somebody … all over the place.”

He thinks that’s not bad for a kid who moved to Redcliffe and didn’t know anyone.

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