THE first thing new Warrnambool Wolves president Brett Gasper wanted to do in his new role at the south-west team was to honour a legend of his club.
“For my first act as president, I’m organising a tribute game for Carlos Del Rio,” he said on the club’s Facebook page.
“Everyone associated with the Wolves knows how much time and effort Carlos has put into this club. President, secretary, treasurer, committee member, coach and player. There isn’t a position at the club he hasn’t held.”
The tribute game will be held on Friday night at the Wolves’ home ground at Harris Street Reserve where the club’s past and present fraternity will celebrate the service of their most recent former president.
“It’s a celebration of the club and what's good about it and everybody has a chance to return the favour to Carlos,” Gasper said.
“I thought when I took over ‘what can I do for the man who eats and breaths football?’ and that was to have a game played for him.”
Gasper said interest from past and present members spiked immediately after the club advertised the tribute game.
“We have over 35 players who have confirmed they will play so far,” he said.
“Some may still rock up on the night and if people see it and get excited hopefully we will have a few extra roll up.”
The night will start with the club’s miniroos getting a shot in the limelight at 6.30 before the main game begins at 7pm between the Carlos All Stars and the Wolves.
The Carlos All Stars will be made up of players that Carlos has coached during his time at the club while the Wolves will be players that Carlos has played with.
After finding out about the game Del Rio responded in a fashion that has become synonymous with his time at the club.
“Brett said he wanted to recognise me and I said ‘cool thanks, what ever you need me to do I’ll be there and do it’,” the 49-year-old said.
The father-of-two, who served on the club’s committee and as a coach for over 15 years, said he appreciated having a game in his honour.
“I feel very privileged and humbled that this game has been organised,” he said.
“It certainly came out of nowhere and when I was approached by the club saying ‘we would like to give you a send off’ and the fact they have done it as a game for me it’s very exciting and humbling as I can run around and enjoy it.
“I am looking forward to it and I have got a lot of messages from people I have coached over the 15 years that might be coming back to have a go playing on the park.
“Personally it is a very special moment for myself but also a special moment for the club. It’s something we can all come together and celebrate where we are now as a community and a club.”
Del Rio stepped away from the club’s committee at the AGM on November 7.