It has been 40 years since Jon Peake signed up to Brisbane Metropolitan Touch Association and a lot has changed since the early beginnings.
Jon (nickname Sneaky) was an employee at the ATO in Brisbane and played for the ATO Vultures Rugby Union Club. Towards the back end of his rugby union days, himself and another employee decided to start playing touch football to keep fit. When they went to register a team, they had to think of a name on the spot. They figured it had to be an animal that was notoriously slow and settled on the Gropers. They also kept the same colours from their rugby union club for their jerseys (green and gold) to keep that connection to the club.
In the early days, the Gropers played at different locations (Annerley and Klump Road) and finally settled at BMTA, where they have played ever since. After only playing touch football to keep fit, the Gropers wanted to start competing for a grand final. The Gropers started winning games and booking spots into many grand finals throughout the years. Some they won convincingly and others, not so much. These days, they are more of a team that is there for the enjoyment and spending time with friends. The Gropers say that if you go to one of their training sessions, you would be the first one!
Jon has witnessed his teammates come and go through the years and is the only original Groper from 40 years ago. After playing with ATO colleagues in the beginning, the team has grown into a touch football family, with many father and son combinations coming together over the last 10 years.
There are whispers within the team that this could be Jon’s last season for the Gropers. Playing touch football at 66 years of age and playing 40 years with same team is a tremendous accomplishment. Whatever Jon’s decision, he will have a lifetime of great memories playing touch football with his friends and family.