The Roosters will playoff for the Bryan Childs memorial shield, an occasion which will spur the inform defender in honour of one of his late friends.
“In 2015 the Singleton region had five young kids, all aged under 18, pass away in car accidents in about the space of three weeks and sadly our Bryan was the first.
Many of the deceased star’s former teammates paid tribute to the former Rooster on Monday four years after his tragic passing.
Such was the nostalgia of his friendship that even Howard, who is considered as one of the tall, tough and quiet hard men of the AFL Hunter Central Coast senior competition; could not help but add to the tributes.
“On and off the field Bryan was a really kind guy and an even better mate who would always be positive and there to support you when needed,” Howard told the Singleton Argus.
“I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about him which is a real credit to the way he carried himself and he got along really well with everyone.
“So this shield and game gives us all a chance to remember Bryan and all the great memories we have had with him throughout our lives.
“We also get a chance to thank his family for all the work and support they have given to the club.”
Childs’ 20th and final senior game would take place against Maitland four days before his passing.
The Roosters prevailed 7.11 (53) to 4.10 (34) that afternoon and have denied the Saints victory at Rose Point Park ever since.
“In Bryan’s first few years in juniors he was one of the key forward targets in the team playing in the forward line,” Howard added.
“Then in under 17s, our coach Steph Nester decided to put Bryan in the backline at centre half back.
“His fitness really improved and he was no doubt a big reason why we won the grand final in under 17s that year.”
Ironically, Howard now plays the same role following a transition from the midfield.
The award recognises upcoming talent who also display the standard he set as an electrical fitter.
“He was smart, he managed to beat 800 applicants to get his role and he was the top of his TAFE class; but we didn’t know he was that clever” Pete Childs playfully added.
Club officials are expecting a large crowd on Saturday considering the Singleton Bulls will be playing away while the town’s other two major teams are playing on Sunday.
By Alex Tigani