A statue immortalising Ilfracombe's favourite son, NRL legend Matt Scott, has been unveiled in his home town.
It's the brainchild of the Ilfracombe District Progress Association and Judy Gowing, who said Friday's big reveal, at which a large contingent of the Scott family was present, was a very exciting and emotional moment.
"We all couldn't believe how good it was," Judy said. "Milynda really nailed the sculpture, it's the best she's ever done."
Jericho's Milynda Rogers, a renowned scrap metal artist, was commissioned by the Progress Association to undertake the 1.9m metal sculpture in January to help inspire the younger generation in the region and give the small community another focus of pride.
"Matt was pretty emotional at the unveiling," Judy said. "He spoke about his mother Di and how she'd fostered his career from a young age."
Because the Ilfracombe Scorpions didn't exist when Matt, nicknamed Thumper, was growing up, he played his junior football with Longreach's Thomson Tigers before playing for St Brendan's College when he was at boarding school in Yeppoon.
From there he was signed by the North Queensland Cowboys, going on to play his entire 16-year NRL career for the club, co-captaining them to the 2015 NRL grand final win and 2016 World Club Challenge victory.
He was a member of the Queensland Maroons' State of Origin winning side eight times and as the best front row forward of his generation in the southern hemisphere, helped the Kangaroos to a World Cup win.
Matt's mum passed away nine years ago but Judy said she'd been very proud of him.
"She did a lot for him and the whole of Ilfracombe - the statue's indirectly a tribute to her too."
Judy said around 200 people had attended the unveiling on Friday evening, which was testament to how big a project it had become for the small town.
The project cost $46,000, which required a lot of cake stalls and raffles by the IDPA, along with the assistance of a Gambling Community Benefits Fund grant, the Longreach Regional Council, plus jersey donations from the NRL.
"The Scott family donated some of Matt's grandfather's tools to incorporate into the statue too," Judy said. "It'll stand in the park now and hopefully give more young children dreams of what they might be able to achieve."
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