Dawson Valley Drovers strapper always ready

TALE OF THE TAPE: Rockhampton-based Drovers strapper Damien Kelso travels all over central Queensland for the club's games.
TALE OF THE TAPE: Rockhampton-based Drovers strapper Damien Kelso travels all over central Queensland for the club's games.

DAMIEN Kelso answered a call to help out the Dawson Valley Drovers last season.

It was the best thing the young strapper had done since a knee reconstruction all but ended his playing days.

The Rockhampton State High School PE teacher was a strapper for the Drovers games in the beef city last year, but expanded his commitment to all games from Moura to Blackwater.

“It is a bit taxing to drive out to Moura or Blackwater but the boys do it every week for training,” Kelso said.

Drovers have players spread from Theodore to Moura to Rockhampton.

The 26-year-old former fullback-cum-fly half said he was informed by Drovers club stalwart Jacko Wright that he could help out the club, which needed a strapper.

Kelso had strapped for some of Wright's under 10s Brahmans game.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

The knee injury ended his playing days at Brothers, where his family is an institution at the club.

Kelso won several reserve grade premierships and played A grade, while his dad was a strapper for many years.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree it seems.

Kelso said it was still good to be involved in the team environment.

“For the first few weeks I was just the strapper but then I got to know them.

“They're a good bunch of blokes,” he said of the Drovers players.

He certainly does know the players well - he straps their knees, thighs, wrists, ankles, shoulders and whatever else is injured and needs to be strapped up so the players can get out on the field.

“They (the players) really appreciate the job I do.

“It's nice to be appreciated - it's not a thankless job,” Kelso said.

He said there was a very good spirit at the club, which included the strong support off the park from other coaching and management staff.

“They're willing to chip in and help out,” Kelso said.

The taut teacher showed he had the same feelings when he chucked the boots back on in reserve grade for a few times, as injury decimated the A grade backline.

It was a pleasant surprise for Kelso to lace the boots up again.

“It was not something I expected,” he said.

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