The Kaiviti Silktails have made a special tribute presentation in honour of their Football Manager Jacquie Shannon, who died suddenly in Sydney at the weekend.
Shannon, 57, had been the Silktails’ heart and soul for organisational and pastoral care of the 28 players, who had left their homes and families in Fiji to compete in the NSWRL Ron Massey Cup in Australia over the past two seasons.
At the Silktails’ Round 13 match on Sunday against Mounties, the players sang songs before and at the conclusion of the game at Aubrey Keech Reserve to express their love and gratitude to Shannon.
“We would like to extend our deepest heartfelt condolences to her daughter Linda, her family and friends back in her homeland of Fiji, here in Australia and around the world,” said Kaiviti Silktails Chairman Petero Civoniceva.
“Words cannot express our pain as a club – players and staff.
“Jacquie was the backbone of our club, playing in integral part in the establishment of the Kaiviti Silktails RLFC from its inception in 2020 to its current form today.
“We would not be the club we are today if it was not for her guidance, perseverance and passion to see our young Fijian players realise their potential and achieve their Rugby League dreams and aspirations.
“Our 2022 playing group have displayed a resilience and strength beyond their years and overcome countless obstacles and setbacks in the duration of their relocation to Sydney for the last seven months.
“To our players and staff that have travelled here from Fiji – Jacquie was our motherly figure, our guiding light, a wonderful source of support and inspiration and she will be forever missed.”
Silktails Executive Director Steve Driscoll said the players were devastated by the news but wanted to celebrate Shannon’s passion and dedication in making the Silktails such a success.
“The saying goes that behind every man or group of men there is always a strong woman. We have lost the strongest of women that represented everything this club stands for,” Driscoll said.
“It is hard to put into words how we are feeling at the moment particularly when you lose someone that we think is irreplaceable.
“As a club all we can do is continue to do the things Jacqui would have wanted us to do … that is to turn up every day and be the best person you can possibly be.”
Driscoll said the Silktails held a team meeting Saturday night and voted unanimously to play their Ron Massey Cup game on Sunday “because that’s what Jacqui would have wanted”.
NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said the entire Rugby League family owed a debt to hard-working officials like Shannon.
“Jacquie’s every action was to see the Silktails succeed as a team, to watch the players develop into fine young men and excellent role models,” Trodden said.
“We acknowledge and celebrate her contribution to not just the NSWRL but to the betterment of our great game.”
Trodden said the NSWRL passed on its condolences to Shannon’s family, the Kaiviti Silktails players and staff, and the Fijian community in Australia.