AN all-star cast of rugby league royalty was on hand to officially open the new FOGS HQ on Castlemaine St at Milton.
NRL Chief Executive Todd Greenberg, former Queensland captains Wally Lewis, Trevor Gillmeister and Darren Lockyer, FOGS directors, former players, sponsors and supporters joined Executive Chairman Gene Miles and FOGS staff in officially unveiling the organisation’s new home.
After more than a decade leasing office space at Suncorp Stadium, the FOGS now have a place of their own, with the magnificently refurbished three-levels of space looking directly at the famous stadium.
Lewis said the building was a tribute to the hard work of the organisation’s Founding Chairman, the late Dick “Tosser” Turner, in establishing the FOGS, and to Gene Miles who carried out Tosser’s dream since becoming Executive Chairman.
“It really is a tremendous building, and I think the old bloke Tosser Turner would be incredibly proud to see how far the FOGS have come, and to have a place like this to call home,” Wally said.
“With the location so close to the stadium, this tremendous area to host functions… I think Tosser would love the way it has turned out. And as we all know, he would have made sure everyone knew if he didn’t.”
The King’s words resonated with emotion – pride at what the FOGS had achieved and grown into in such a short space of time, but also with a tinge of sadness remembering their great mate Tosser.
As Wally spoke, a large tribute banner stood to his right, with a trademark picture of Tosser in a Queensland tracksuit top and flat cap, grinning from ear to ear with an unmistakable gleam of pride in his eyes.
The image is one that would bring a smile to the face of anyone who knew him, but below the image were the dates that acted as a sobering reminder that this year marks 10 years since the great man’s passing.
Geno said it was a fitting coincidence that the FOGS should be embarking on a new era with the new building a decade after the death of the man who created the FOGS.
“Tosser’s dream for the FOGS was for us to have a place of our own, and to be able as an organisation to stand on our own two feet,” Geno said.
“We are very happy that the new building allows us to deliver on both of those fronts.
“We were at Suncorp Stadium for a decade, and for us there was no better place to be, because we all love the place so much.
“But when the opportunity came up to buy this new building, we could all see what tremendous potential it had.
“We now have our own offices, and our own facilities, including a tremendous functions area that we will be able to utilise on game nights, where our guests will be able to come for our hospitality and then literally walk across the road to the game.
“But on top of that, we are only occupying half of one floor, so we will be looking to lease out the remaining two and half floors – which comes to around 2000 sqm of space.
“Having those tenants in to share the space will ensure the FOGS have an additional revenue stream for the years to come.”
Despite no longer being tenants of Suncorp Stadium, Gene said the support of the venue’s management would never be forgotten in the history of the FOGS.
“Suncorp looked after us for many years as great landlords, and it their support that helped us get to this stage now where we are able to go out on our own,” Gene said.
“Through Harvey Lister, AEG Ogden and of course Alan Graham, they have always been very supportive of the FOGS.”