NOT many footballers can claim to have played at both the Gabba and also at Suncorp Stadium, but Russell Island’s young Caleb Denham-Back, 8, can.
Caleb’s dad, Peter Denham, said the young sports fanatic played Australian Rules football with the Redland Bay Tiger Sharks’ under 9s team, rugby league with the Stradbroke Sharks under 8s team, and is a member of Redlands Little Athletics Centre (RLAC).
In the AFL Indigenous Round in May, Caleb was selected to play in a team of eight to 12-year-olds in a half-time game between Brisbane Lions and Greater Western Sydney Giants at the Gabba.
Peter, who has Indigenous Australian heritage, said Indigenous parents with children playing AFL had been invited to submit their child’s name with potential for selection and said he was pleased when Caleb was chosen.
Two weeks after his run at the Gabba, Caleb then played at Suncorp Stadium with his Stradbroke Sharks rugby league team in a half-time game against the Brothers Toowoomba under 8s team.
The main match was between the Brisbane Broncos and the Newcastle Knights.
Caleb said playing football at the Gabba and Suncorp Stadium was “good”.
“I was a bit nervous about going onto the field, but I was all right when I was out there, and I was all right with all the people watching,” he said.
As if playing two different football codes isn’t enough, Caleb also excels at athletics.
Peter said in addition to his football achievements, Caleb also performed well in last season’s RLAC age championships and recently, in a school competition, threw the discus more than 18 metres.
“He’s doing well,” Peter said.
“He’s a good boy and a generous little kid.
“I’d like to see him continue playing football and doing his sport.
“Redlands Little Athletics is a very strong club and Little Athletics is good for kids because it’s about them improving their own performance, not about who wins.”
Peter said Caleb’s grandmother was a cousin to Bob Davidson, who captained the Australian rugby team the Wallabies in six Test matches from 1957 to 1958.
He also has two sisters, Maryam and Cazna, both of whom also play rugby league for Stradbroke Sharks. Now that Caleb has played football at two of Queensland’s biggest sports venues, what’s next for the young athlete?
“I want to keep playing footy and doing athletics because I really like them,” he said.