I had the wonderful privilege of witnessing two days of junior rugby league on the Fraser Coast, starting on Friday with the Primary School Girls Rugby League competition. Star of the Seas won the first division defeating Yarrilee Primary School and the side that I was coaching the Yarrilee B side won the second division defeating Xavier. It was an amazing sight seeing over 200 young females participating in this primary school tournament and hopefully something can be done to encourage these girls to continue playing instead of taking up other sports.
On Saturday there were three Under 12 games that took centre stage on a beautiful winters day.
First match to take place featured the Hervey Bay Seagulls East taking on the Hervey Bay Seagulls West and it was a pretty one sided affair with the East side running out 32 to 8 winners. Backing up from the carnival the previous day, Erika Akers once again stood tall with a blockbusting display culminating in a double, the ultra elusive Hula Bari-Shillingsworth was a pleasure to watch and also scored a double with fullback Rhys Jenkins and winger Sanjay Sorby also crossing for tries. Jack Daisy and Jayden Squillacioti scored the tries for the West side and the stand out performer for the match was Easts half back Jake Parker who set up his sides victory with some great passing and runs.
The second game was an entertaining affair with Burrum Yellow taking on Wallaroos Blue and both sides had some outstanding skills on display. The Burrum side went into the half time break leading 12 nil but Wallaroos fought back to take a 14-12 lead with just over 3 minutes remaining. From the kick off, Burrum went short and lock forward Toby Maher burst onto the ball and put Burrum into a position where Nathan Oates crossed for the match winner with very little time left on the clock. Burrum centre Aleisha McCallum was outstanding and continued to make breaks throughout the contest proving a handful for the Wallaroos defence and crossed for two tries. The other try scorer was Daniel Foxwell with a 60 metre burst in the first half where he brushed off at least five defenders. The Wallaroos fightback was through tries to centre Cooper Burgess, fullback Jamall Lasserre and back rower Jake McPaul who was a threat for the Burrum side for the whole game.
The final game saw the Hervey Bay Seagulls South side taking on a Wallaroos White side that struggled for numbers and it showed with the Seagulls running out 34 nil winners with centre Heath Peel scoring two tries, prop forward Frank Wright, halfback Josh Whittaker, winger Brock Shepherd, lock Josh Mostert and centre Tyson Roberts also bagging tries to give them a convincing victory.
Once again it was great to see large numbers of supporters at these junior games and the joy on the players faces when they score a try, make a tackle or are a part of a victory is priceless as is the view of them just having fun participating in this great game of ours.