Sportsmanship, camaraderie and friendship – add these ingredients to some great games of junior rugby league and you have the inaugural “Manktelow Bush Challenge” held in Pittsworth recently.

The Pittsworth Danes U13’s and U14’s were joined by the Charleville Comets and the Caboolture Snakes as well as their coaching staff, family and friends for an entertaining day of footy followed by a delicious camp oven dinner and a swag sleepover at Club Pittsworth.

The “Bush Challenge” was a brainstorm between a great friend of Pittsworth JRL and QRL Junior Chairman Geoff Orman and Pittsworth & District Junior Rugby League President Greg Quinn during the 2013 QLD Junior State Carnival.

These very passionate men decided that there needs to be more footy played, especially for those out in the bush, and so the invitation went out to Charleville and they jumped at the chance. These boys are accustomed to travelling long distances to play their favourite game, so the eight hour journey to Pittsworth for two games was a walk in the park!

Especially because it was followed by a sensational camp oven dinner, more footy under lights with many ages and sizes (just for fun), NRL semi-final on the big screen and a mass sleepover with swags and sleeping bags filling the Club Pittsworth main room.

The Caboolture and Charleville boys were joined by their new Pittsworth mates who decided it would be better to sleep the night too.

The bush challenge was renamed to the “Manktelow Bush Challenge” after the tragic and sudden death of much loved Pittsworth wife, Mum and committee member Sue Manktelow in July this year. Sue would have been so proud and humbled to see such a wonderful concept named in honour.

The winner of the inaugural challenge was the Caboolture U14 team and this is not only judged on their football results but their sportsmanship and the way they conduct themselves on and off the field.

They were presented with a trophy and a shield by Craig, Brady and Darby Manktelow when it was also announced next year’s challenge will be held in Caboolture on the first Saturday of the September school holidays, to keep this tradition going. Let’s hope it continues for many years to come.

On Sunday morning, you guessed it, the boys were up and back on the paddock for some more “fun footy” before a hearty breakfast and time to head back home.

The Pittsworth Junior League and Club Pittsworth would like to thank all of its volunteers who helped make this weekend possible and a huge thanks to Ron and Lyn Pearce for the wonderful camp oven dinner and Peter, Janine and Richard for assisting them. See you all next year.