Rugby game honours fallen police officer
The annual Brett Forte Cup made a comeback on Saturday, August 14, keeping a fallen police officer’s memory alive and raising $10,000 for charities.
CAPTION: A player from the Royal Australian Corps of Signals Rugby Union Football Club team rises above a Toowoomba Police player in the annual Brett Forte Cup memorial rugby game in Queensland. Story by Flying Officer Evita Ryan. Photo by Corporal Joshua Thomas.
The memorial match between Toowoomba Police and the Royal Australian Corps of Signals Rugby Union Football Club team (RASIGS RUFC) was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The game honours Senior Constable Brett Forte, from the Darling Downs District Tactical Crime Squad, who was fatally shot while on duty on May 29, 2017.
The RASIGS RUFC team comfortably defeated their rugby 10s’ rivals 26-17 to retain the perpetual cup and secure bragging rights for another year.
After a 44-year rugby career, Sergeant Michael Lawrence hung up the boots earlier this year and is now the RASIGS RUFC Head of Development and Coaching.
Sergeant Lawrence said the secret to the team’s success was regular training.
“We beat them fair and square,” Sergeant Lawrence said.
“It’s always great to play in charity matches, because when everyone is playing for a good cause, they play a bit more passionately.”
The players and crowd of more than 500 people stood for one minute’s silence before the game.
Senior Constable Forte’s wife and children were in attendance.
Acting Inspector Greg Wheeler, who is based at the Toowoomba Police Station, said the event was a great way to honour Senior Constable Forte’s memory with family, friends and colleagues.
“The connection with our friends at Carbalah [suburb where RASIGS units are based] has never been stronger,” Acting Inspector Wheeler said.
With more than $10,000 raised on the day for Police Legacy and Mates for Mates.
The game was deemed a huge success even though a year of deployments to the border zone and hotel quarantine tasks meant the police had limited players available for the match.
“We had four father-and-son combinations in our team so it was a great family event,” Acting Inspector Wheeler said.
“We’ll be back bigger and better next year.”