In a moving ceremony held on Saturday, January 6, loved ones came together to honour the indomitable spirit of rugby league luminary Carl Webb.
The gathering served as both a heartfelt tribute and a farewell to Webb, who valiantly faced Motor Neurone Disease (MND) until his passing on December 21 at the age of 42.
In a crowded room filled with family, friends, and fans, Webb’s white casket, adorned with yellow sunflowers, was placed front and centre. The soothing notes of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow played over the speakers, setting a poignant atmosphere.
Outside the room, the corridors were bustling with people, and a sizable crowd gathered around the venue to say their goodbyes.
Emotions ran high as Cass Jamieson, Webb’s partner and mother of their third child, took the stage to pay tribute to “the love of her life.”
Overwhelmed with sorrow, she entrusted another to read her eulogy, a moving tribute to shared experiences, lessons learned, and battles faced together.
“We taught each other patience, acceptance and strength, and we have overcome and dealt with more in our short time together than what most people do in a lifetime,” the eulogy read.
“As much as I never wanted to let you go, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”
Heartfelt messages from Webb’s daughters then followed, eloquently capturing the profound impact their father had on their lives.
Hunter Webb reflected on her father’s toughness, not only on the rugby field but in confronting the challenges of a debilitating disease.
“Not because of the footy you played or the boxing, but because of the courage you had to fight with a horrible disease,” she said.
“I remember every night before you went to bed, you would tell us a story about us when we were toddlers and that even though you had this disease that you were the exact same man inside.
“As you got weaker and older this didn’t change. Dad has taught me that a man’s spirit doesn’t die if faced by an incurable disease or a deadly virus, but only if he is forgotten.
“So I ask that my Dad is not forgotten but rather remembered.”
Brooklyn Webb described her father as the most resilient man she had ever known, emphasising how his strength transcended physical challenges.
“I’d seen him fall and he never even seemed the slightest bit bothered and neither did he cry,” she said.
“I still see my dad in the sunsets, in the strong winds and the rain, and I always know that he will be with me, forever looking down at me and helping me every step of the way.”
Hailing from Mt Isa, Webb’s rugby league journey commenced with the Brisbane Broncos in 2000, sharing the field with icons like Shane Webcke, Petero Civoniceva, and Gorden Tallis. Webb’s impact spanned six seasons and 66 games with the Broncos before returning to North Queensland, contributing to the Cowboys for another six seasons. His illustrious NRL career concluded with the Eels in 2011.
Webb’s influence expanded beyond club rugby. His State of Origin debut in 2001 played a pivotal role in the Maroons’ triumphant 2-1 series victory. In 2006, Webb once again proved instrumental in overcoming a series deficit, contributing to the Maroons’ remarkable eight-year dynasty.
At 39, faced with the challenging diagnosis of MND, Webb transformed adversity into advocacy, establishing the Carl Webb Foundation. Dedicated to assisting those grappling with MND, the foundation stands as a testament to Webb’s enduring legacy of resilience, compassion, and the unwavering pursuit of a brighter future for others facing similar battles.