Peter Hesse has no doubt if Dudley Millard could see the crowd set to gather at Innes Gardens Memorial Park on Monday he would have one thing in mind; throwing more steaks on the barbie.
Port City Breakers Rugby League Football Club has been left numb following the sudden loss on Sunday of the man affectionately known as "Dud", aged 71.
Dudley helped found the Breakers in 2002 and it was four years later that the two formed the most unlikely of friendships which strengthened as the years progressed.
"If he could see the crowd that he's going to get at his funeral, he'd turn around and say 'I'd better throw a few more steaks on and get another raffle going'. That's how he'd be thinking," Hesse said.
"We had a friendship [and] I didn't realise just how important it was. We did raffles last Friday night and he was good and then all of a sudden, bang, he's not there."
Hesse has been the club's recorder for nearly two decades and along with Dudley, the duo are part of why the club currently finds itself in a strong position.
It's now up to the rest of the club to take over the tongs.
"He loved this footy club. He's going to be dressed in a Breakers shirt and when he goes through those pearly gates he'll have a pair of barbecue tongs and raffle tickets in his pocket," Hesse said.
"As Dud would say, it is what it is and we'll get on with it, but it's a bit harder than that at the moment."
He will be remembered as a generous man. Hesse said he was too generous at times, but that was a measure of his good mate.
"You could never get angry with Dudley Millard," he said.
"There were times where I said 'Dud, you've got to cut that out mate. You're a soft touch for these blokes' and he'd laugh it off.
"That was the only time I scolded him - when I told him he was too generous and a soft touch."
Hesse said the club would get together and remember his good mate in coming weeks.
"We've got a few ideas for the future, but it's a bit raw at the moment."
Breakers president Geoff Kelly said no-one could fill Dudley's shoes.
"He was the backbone of the Breakers because he was there when we started in 2002.
"He's going to be so sadly missed in both seniors and juniors because he had a great relationship with all the players and they all loved him. Dudley was the one a lot of the players would turn to."
Kelly acknowledged it was important for the club to band together and pull through the tough times ahead.
"We've got to make sure going forward [that] we try to emulate the time and effort Dudley put into the Breakers and build a stronger club," he said.
"He is the Breakers. He's what Port City Breakers are about. He's family and we're a family club."
Off the field, Dudley's son Shane said such was his father's down-to-earth nature that his proudest moments as a son came from questions other people asked.
"We're all proud of our kids, but some of the proudest moments I have are when I'm asked 'are you Dudley Millard's son?'"
Shane said he spoke to his father three times a day and when he didn't want to ring him, his younger daughter did instead.
That was the sort of impact he had on people - they just wanted to be around him.
"When we were in the car she always asked 'who are we going to ring now?'," he said.
"Any time you needed an ear he was there and if you wanted to run something by him in terms of an idea or whether you're doing the right thing he'd always make sense of it and put it into reason.
"He was the most patient man I know because we certainly tested him at times as kids."
Dudley was the former president at Camden Haven Rugby League Football Club before he jumped ship 20 years ago. He had been with the Breakers ever since.
Dudley Millard will be farewelled at Innes Gardens Memorial Park on Philip Charley Drive in Port Macquarie on May 16 from 1pm.
A gathering will then be held at Settlers Inn from 2.30pm.
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