On the road with the Doomadgee Dragons
The people of Doomadgee in the Gulf are so passionate about the game of rugby league that theyll drive 12 hours to play a game of footy.
While the distances dont faze them, the Doomadgee club often struggles to scrape together enough vehicles to transport players to the away matches in the Mid West competition against teams from Mount Isa, Hughenden and Cloncurry.
Doomadgee Dragons coach and prop forward Craig Logan says a bus would help immensely.
Logan relayed their transport issues to Maroons coach Mal Meninga, who visited the small township last Thursday with representatives from the QRL and AAMI.
Meninga made the Doomadgee clubs plight known in his column in The Sunday-Mail.
Their rugby league team plays nine games a year, Meninga wrote.
Seven of those are on the road. And when I say "on the road", I mean it.
Their furthest away venue is in Hughenden, which means the players must drive 12 hours in their cars, play the game, then turn around and drive the 12 hours home again.
Their idea of a 'supercoach' is a bus that could carry the team together as they make these massive trips just to play the game they love.
At the presentation dinner in Doomadgee, I asked the locals what the game could do to help them; what was the major thing they needed.
A bus," they said. "All we really need is a bus."
While transport remains a lingering issue, one problem the Dragons dont have right now is a lack of training gear.
As one of four club winners of the Ultimate AAMI State of Origin Experience competition, the Dragons received $5000 worth of equipment from AAMI last week.
Meninga also conducted a training session with the Dragons.
To have Mal come to Doomadgee is a very big experience, especially with me being the local coach, Logan said.
Watching him win the series for Queensland was a big eye opener for me and the boys as well.
Logan is one of several Dragons players to have played representative football in recent years.
He played alongside his cousin Alfred Ned for the Queensland Outback team against NSW.
Young guns Tristan Toby and Stephen OKeefe are two other Doomadgee players who have played in Queensland representative squads.