Queensland farewells league legend
THE North Queensland rugby league community has paid tribute to former Australian and Queensland representative Jim Paterson, who died in Townsville last week aged 84.
Paterson played for Australia and Queensland in the 1950s and 1960s, representing his state for the first time in 1958 and going on to play 24 games.
He played eight games for Australia between 1959 and 1961, and earned his national call-ups while playing in North Queensland.
In Australian rugby league's centenary year he was named at second-row in the Queensland Rugby League northern division's "team of the century", having captained North Queensland to victories over Great Britain and France.
Paterson was also known as one of the all-time greats of North Queensland's Foley Shield competition, having played for Townsville and also captain-coaching Innisfail to victory in 1954.
He was a player in the mould of fellow North Queensland rugby league legend Wally Tallis, whose son Gorden remembered Paterson as a larger-than-life figure.
"You knew who Jimmy Paterson was and what he did in the game," Tallis said.
"He had a stature around North Queensland and Townsville that was really something.
"He was a great player and I certainly knew who Jimmy Paterson was. It's just a shame there's no footage that can be shown of him and you just wish there was game footage of all those old legends that walked around NQ and played for Australia."
"He went against the odds by working a full-time job and not playing in the big city, but he played for his country."
Paterson's son Wayne said he was proud of his father's achievements, which also included touring New Zealand with the Kangaroos.
"They had to work hard in those days; it wasn't like how it is now for the top players," Wayne said.
"He didn't exactly like how the modern game had changed but he still enjoyed watching footy."
Townsville and Districts Rugby League chairman Ross Anderson said Paterson had left a lasting legacy.
"He certainly laid the platform for the TRL - as it was known then - moving forward into the future," he said. "He was a very nice man and he did plenty for the game. Jim was certainly one of the game's greats."
Paterson's funeral service will be held at Morley's Funerals on Saturday at 10am.