Joel Smallwood runs onto the field ahead of his Nanango Stags team mates. South Burnett Rugby League Grand Final 2018
Joel Smallwood runs onto the field ahead of his Nanango Stags team mates. South Burnett Rugby League Grand Final 2018 Claudia Williams

From broken leg to premiership winner

JOEL Smallwood led the Nanango Stags onto the field with his kids by his side in front of a packed home crowd ready to play in his fourth grand final for the Stags.

"There is nothing is better than to run out in front of your home ground in a grand final,” he said.

It was just the second game Smallwood has played this season after breaking his leg in the second round.

Despite his injury he continued to turn up to training and started working towards playing in the grand final as soon as his leg was out of plaster.

Smallwood played in the 2002 grand final, the last time the Stags lifted the premiership trophy, and his experienced proved to be invaluable to the team on Saturday.

The Nanango crowd rallied around the home team to help them to victory over the Kingaroy Red Ants 48-0.

"We have always had a goal to never get beaten at home and this was our motivation,” Smallwood said.

"That has been the biggest crowd I have seen in a long time.”

For Smallwood he knew the Stags would lift the premiership trophy when the Red Ants were unable to score after six sets on their line.

During the season the Nanango side would have BBQ together every fortnight and catch up on the weekend when there was no footy and Smallwood said this was key to the teams success.

"When you have a good bond that helps you out on the field,” he said.

Smallwood has now played his last game for the Stags after pulling on a blue and white jersey since a junior.

"I would rather finish on a good note and I will never get that feeling again,” he said.