Laura Geitz of the Firebirds is seen running onto the court at the start of the Round 14 Super Netball match between the Queensland Firebirds and the Magpies.
Laura Geitz of the Firebirds is seen running onto the court at the start of the Round 14 Super Netball match between the Queensland Firebirds and the Magpies. DARREN ENGLAND

Netballer says it is humbling to share an award with Bennett

ALLORA SPORT: Laura Geitz said it was humbling to be in the same company as Wayne Bennett after the two athletes who started their careers at Allora were crowned the town's first sporting immortals.

The announcement of the immortals was in front of the Commercial Hotel on Saturday afternoon during Allora 150th anniversary celebrations.

The immortals were represented on the day by family members Juanita Geitz and Bob Bennett.

Laura Geitz said it was humbling to be in the same company as Wayne Bennett.

"I would have loved to be at the day but it would not have been the wisest thing as we are expecting our second child in late July,” she said.

"What I am most proud of is the calibre of athletes produced by Allora. It is incredible what a little town can produce.”

When asked about the greatest influences on her career, she said it was definitely her parents Ross and Juanita Geitz, who made it possible to attend state training sessions in Brisbane while she was at school at Scots PGC College.

Laura first starred in sport in athletics and swimming while at Allora State School before becoming one of the best goalkeepers to play for the Diamonds in netball.

She led Australia to victory in the World Cup and Commonwealth Games, as well as leading the Queensland Firebirds to trans-Tasman and Australian success. She has two World Cup gold medals and one gold and two silver at the Commonwealth Games.

After being named an immortal, Bennett paid tribute to the wonderful people who helped him when he was growing up at Allora.

He said while some of the youngsters at the Allora rugby league at the showgrounds were collecting bottles for the refund in the 1950s, he was in the dressing room with the players listening to every word.

"I just loved the Allora footy team,” he said.

He gives credit to the people at Allora and the Queensland Police Force for having the greatest influence of his life.

Bennett lived at Allora from age two to 12 before his family moved to Warwick.

After finishing school, he joined the police force and was working as a police officer and coaching at Souths in Brisbane before he became a fulltime coach in the NRL.

Bennett was in Townsville for the Rabbitohs' win against North Queensland on Saturday night so couldn't attend the Allora ceremony.

He has coached teams to eight NRL premierships, and also coached Queensland and Australia to success after playing for his state and nation as an outside back.

In 826 NRL games as a coach, he has 514 wins, 14 draws and 298 losses.



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