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The Mullumbimby Giants had a problem – and team five-eighth Cody Nelson answered the call.

He put his lawn mower in the back of his ute and headed out to the playing field to cut the grass down to size.

“My legs are still hurting,” Nelson told nswrl.com.au.

“It was a long day. I started at six’o’clock in the morning, had to leave to go and coach the Under 6s, and then came back to finish off the job.”

All up it took Nelson about eight hours to get the Giants field in playing condition. And that was his motivation after two metres of water covered the pitch during the recent northern NSW floods.

“The floods obviously hurt us; making the field soft for a long time,” Nelson said.

“The grass had gotten out of hand not being able to get on there with the ride-on mower.

“They kept talking about moving our home games and having to play them elsewhere. I decided I’d take it upon myself to push-mower it and see how it came up.”

The Mullumbimby Giants is one of the oldest Rugby League clubs in Australia dating back to 1909.

The Giants field that greeted Cody Nelson at 6am
The Giants field that greeted Cody Nelson at 6am

Nelson is captain-coach of the Giants first grade side, which plays in the NRRL (Northern Rivers Rugby League) competition and were due to play a home game the weekend of 28-29 May.

“I didn’t want to be playing somewhere else while the sun was shining and our field was just sitting there and probably alright – the grass was just too long, that was all,” Nelson said.

So, Nelson became the living persona of the song: ‘One Man Went to Mow a Meadow’.

There are contractors that normally mow the field, but the Mullumbimby Giants Leagues Club has been closed due to the floods so all the staff were temporarily stood down.

“I had to get to the juniors game so I was only able to do to the 30 metre-line and I had to leave for the Under 6s match,” he said of his Saturday morning mowing job.

“I came back thinking there might be a few more of the boys and mowers out there to help but no-one was there. So, I put my head down and just kept going.”

He finished at 4.30pm It was hard and thirsty work but rather than a big feed and a few beers at the pub afterwards, Nelson went home to bed.

“I just crashed,” he said.

“I had to get ready for football the next day. I worked it out that I did about 20 kilometres of walking.”

Cody Nelson (with ball) in action for the Mullumbimby Giants.
Cody Nelson (with ball) in action for the Mullumbimby Giants.

Suffice to say there was some collateral damage to the body the next day.

“My calves were pretty sore but my feet hurt more than anything – just from continually pushing through that soft, wet grass,” Nelson said.

But the reaction from teammates the next day made it all worthwhile. Nelson is the stuff of club folklore now on and off the field, even though he couldn’t steer the Giants to a win over Ballina.

“They were all pretty happy,” he said.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.