Photo: Keeping the Harlequins tradition alive are (l-r) team member Nick Harris, Lismore Workers Masters Games chairperson Matt Barlow, original member Tony Wilson and team captain Adam Sheridan.
Members of the Harlequins Soccer Team are normally fierce rivals on the field, but this September they will join forces to compete in the Masters Games against teams from across the Northern Rivers and south-east Queensland.
The members – who once played for local clubs including Richmond Rovers, Workers, Italo Stars, Goonellabah and Kyogle to name a few – will come from across the country to represent Lismore during the 10th Lismore Workers Masters Games from 22-24 September.
“It’s one of the few times we get to play on the same team with some of our former foes,” Harlequins captain Adam Sheridan said.
“It’s like a mini reunion of sorts with people coming from all over the country to participate in the team. Many players are making the trip down from Cairns, Brisbane and the Gold Coast just to compete. It’s a fantastic tradition.”
The Harlequins Soccer Team has a long history in Lismore, starting in 1993 after a group of Lismore mates went away on a soccer trip. Their motto was: ‘Often brilliant. Sometimes not. Always fun.’
In 1994, the soccer enthusiasts won a gold medal at the Pan Pacific Masters and that winning tradition continued. They played masters games across the country and went on to win gold at the Pan Pacific Masters in every age category (35s, 45s and 50s).
One of the founders, Tony Wilson, originally a Richmond Rover, said the Harlequins were born at a time when Lismore was producing an incredibly high standard of soccer players.
“There was a brilliant standard of football players in Lismore at the time – they were dominant players, and many could walk out of Lismore and play in the first team of any team in Australia,” said Tony, who went on to play for Hakoah Eastern Suburbs, the equivalent of today’s Sydney FC.
“We galvanised those great footballers and came together as a team – the original Harlequins was fundamentally about showcasing the brilliance of Lismore football.
“We had great footballers and a great community, with really strong values. It’s wonderful to see this new transition and resurrection of the team, with a new generation that sees this great passion and great philosophy and they want to buy into it.”
Adam is delighted to carry on the Harlequins tradition and said his oldest competitor in 2017 is the ripe old age of 39, while many in the team are sons of former Harlequins.
“The original Harlequins were fathers, uncles, soccer coaches – so many of the team at this year’s Masters Games have grown up in that tradition,” Adam said.
“It’s a wonderful team and we are really proud to come together and represent Lismore.”
Registrations for the 10th Lismore Workers Masters Games are open until 18 August.
People can sign up now for the following sports: baseball, cricket, dressage, golf, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, Oztag, fitness challenge, football, five-side football, softball and mini-lympics.
For information and registrations, visit www.lismoremastersgames.com.au