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THE annual Outback Muster kicks off this Saturday, June 21 in Blackall, with excitement building and representative jerseys on the line as players and staff travel extraordinary distances to take part.

A highlight for rural Queensland footy, the Outback Muster this year will feature some of the area’s best men’s and junior talent. As an added bonus, there will also women’s games featured this year.

Queensland Rugby League Central Division Manager Rob Crow said dedication and planning were essential for all players before even stepping onto Blackall Showgrounds.

“With arrangements from work and the travel and many, many hours involved, it certainly requires greater commitment,” Crow said.

“We’ve got players from all over the place, both north and south, who’ll be playing and needing significant effort to do so.”

To put this into context, players travelling from Mount Isa to play face a near 10-hour trip, while Stanthorpe players will make a 30-hour return journey to take part in the Muster.

It is a remarkable show of love for rugby league and it is all part of what makes the Outback Muster so special.

If their journeys to the carnival weren’t motivation enough, the prospect of representing Outback Queensland will encourage the players even more.

The teams will be announced at the Outback Muster Carnival Dinner at the Blackall Cultural Centre on Saturday night – along with the man of the match awards, the A Grade Player of the Carnival Award and the Under 19 Player of the Carnival Award. 

With a Queensland Outback and Queensland Outback Under 19 team to be chosen, Crow said the tournament will be important for selections.

“The Under 19 team will play a Rockhampton Under 19 team on July 12, while the senior side will play a North Queensland Remote Areas team on Thursday Island on July 19,” he said.

“They’re both massive opportunities and something they’ll all want to be a part of.”

COMPETITION DRAW

Saturday, June 21:

8.30am: Pre-carnival meeting
9.05am: Official Welcome by Mayor of Blackall Tambo Regional Council Cr Barry Muir
9.15am: A Grade - Northern Outback v South West
10.40am: Under 19 - Southern v Northern
12noon: Women’s - Central West Fillies v Warrego Wallabies
1.05pm: A Grade - Central West v Northern Outback
2.30pm: Under 19 - Northern v Southern
3.50pm: Under 8 local juniors
4.35pm: A Grade - Central West v South West

COMPETITION RULES 

Team Composition

Squads will consist of 20 players with all 20 players being permitted per game on an unlimited interchange basis.

Period of Play

Each match will be played as follows:

·         A Grade – 2 x 35 minute halves
·         Under 19 – 2 x 30 minute halves

Points

Points will be awarded for each match during the competition on the following basis: 

·         Win 2 points
·         Draw 1 point
·         Loss 0 points
·         Most points first half 1 point
·         Most points second half 1 point
·         Equal points any half ½ point

The leading team in both A Grade and Under 20s on points at the end of the Outback Muster will be declared the carnival winner and awarded the QRL Outback Trophy.

For full competition rules, see the attached document below.