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The Pearl: Steve Renouf’s Story

The Pearl: Steve Renouf’s Story
By John Harms
University of Queensland Press
RRP: $29.95

The Pearl is a moving story of a rugby league footballer, his family, and his Aboriginal identity.

John Harms is a sports journalist and former high school teacher, who has described Steve Renouf’s sporting glory and heritage.

While Steve Renouf’s journey is still a work in progress, this book is complete.  Renouf is a thoughtful celebrity with character and values.

Anchored to his family by a sense of place and to his community by a love of play, Renouf’s story describes vividly the struggles of growing up as an Aborigine in Murgon and moving to Brisbane.

Harms also pays homage, in an understated way, to the influential figures in Renouf’s life: his grandmother Eileen South, his parents Nerida and Charlie, his wife Lis, and his coach Wayne Bennett.

Steve and Lis were married in the Uniting Church in Murgon in February 1990 and now have five children. He would miss the notorious end-of-season football trips so that he could be with his young family.

There were other personal challenges for him too: racism, diabetes and maintaining direction as a young man with a sudden rise in fame and wealth.

In telling Steve Renouf’s story, John Harms reveals the unfamiliar world of Indigenous athletes, elite coaching, and race relations in Queensland.

Not a bad effort for a ‘sporting biography’.