Chris Dunbar, known as CD, when celebrating his 501st and final game for North Mackay Saints. Picture: Contributed
Chris Dunbar, known as CD, when celebrating his 501st and final game for North Mackay Saints. Picture: Contributed

Tributes for Saints legend after brave battle with cancer

The Saints have lost a legend and Mackay a giant with Chris Dunbar losing his battle against pancreatic cancer.

The man who notched up 501 games for his one club.

The bloke whose pre-game rituals are the stuff of legend.

The loving husband and dedicated father.

CD was many things to most but to long-time friend and former teammate Steve Stewart, the Saints legend was the humble player who did everything he could for the team.

"If all footballers in the big dance, be it NRL, AFL or Super Rugby, were more like CD, there would be a shitload less stories for the media," Stewart says, adding CD never made waves or headlines for his antics off-field.

In fact, when he was diagnosed in December 2018 and Mackay's clubs rallied in a fundraiser, CD was humbled.

 

Mackay North Saints player Chris Dunbar was a ‘one club’ man. Photo Lee Constable / Daily Mercury
Mackay North Saints player Chris Dunbar was a ‘one club’ man. Photo Lee Constable / Daily Mercury

When his 500th game was celebrated, CD was again humbled.

"He was never the best player on the side but for a lightweight player, he did what he had to be on the side," Stewart says.

"He was happy with that."

Remembering CD:

Rival coach: 'He's a one in a million bloke'

Cancer battle: Saint's fond memories of hotdogs and VB

CD was a "one club" man, playing a total of 501 games for North Mackay; 347 in A-Grade and 154 in reserves.

It's a record Stewart says is unlikely to be beaten in Mackay.

"With CD, everyone knows his football record but for me, it was getting to know the man away from the field," he said.

"It was an honour to be able to help his family out and get to know the fella."

"He fought very hard and it looked positive there for a while but it wasn't meant to be," Stewart said.

"He was a caring father and a loving husband, and leaves behind his wife Katrina and his boys Cody and Bailey."

 

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From his pre-game ritual of a hotdog with no cheese and getting Stewart to strap his ankle, CD is the stuff of legend in Mackay.

"He was a real gentleman; good natured," Stewart said.

The Saints clubhouse will be regaled with stories of the man from 6pm Thursday.

Everyone who knew CD is invited to have a drink and swap stories.

 

Mackay North Saints player Chris Dunbar. Photo Lee Constable / Daily Mercury
Mackay North Saints player Chris Dunbar. Photo Lee Constable / Daily Mercury

Head of AFL Queensland Trisha Squires said CD made his mark on the game and his legacy would "forever be remembered and treasured".

"On behalf of AFL Queensland, we send our love and support to the Dunbar family, the North Mackay Saints Football Club and the wider AFL Mackay football community, following the tragic passing of Chris 'CD' Dunbar who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer overnight," she said.

"Chris made his mark on our great game in Queensland and his name and legacy will forever be remembered and treasured.

"Chris played an impressive 501 games with the North Mackay Saints and kicked five goals in his 500th game in 2018.

"He made his senior debut in 1989 and would go on to play nearly 30 years of senior footy, and compete in six premierships with the club.

"Chris was made an AFL Mackay Life Member in 2009 and is a North Mackay Saints Life Member.

"Our thoughts are with Chris' wife Katrina and sons Cody and Bailey at this very sad time."

 

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