All roads lead to Charleville on Saturday for the annual NRL Development Northern v Southern Queensland Outback Junior Challenge.
Now in its very successful fifth year, Under 14 and 16 carnival heads for the very first time to the south west Queensland after previously being held in Winton, Longreach, Barcaldine and Mount Isa.
This carnival gives many outback players an opportunity to play representative football against opposition of a similar standard.
Shaun ‘Zorro’ Radnedge and his local band of hard working volunteers from the Charleville and District Junior Rugby League Committee have put in many long hours and have worked tirelessly in the last few months in preparation.
One of the many players to come from this carnival has been Coen Hess, formerly from the Black Stars Junior Club in Mount Isa.
Coen played as a 15-year-old at the inaugural carnival at Winton in 2011 and has since gone on to represent Queensland Under 16s in 2012 and Queensland Under 18s in 2013 and 2014.
This year he has been a vital member of the North Queensland Cowboys National Youth Competition team, culminating in his selection in this year’s winning Junior Kangaroos Under 20s side.
Many good judges are saying Hess will make his NRL debut this season.
The Northern Outback Teams are mainly made up of players from the Mount Isa Junior Rugby League competition, whilst Southern Outback teams are selected from players from the townships of Winton, Longreach, Barcaldine, Blackall, Charleville, Augathella and Mitchell.
At the conclusion of the carnival, Queensland Outback Under 14 and Under 16 representative teams will be selected.
The delegates on the QRL Outback Advisory Committee have worked tirelessly over the previous 12 months to have both the selected 14s and 16s teams travel to Coolum on the Sunshine Coast to compete in the Glyn Rees Cultural Exchange City-Country Carnival on June 27 and 28.
QLD Outback teams will compete against teams from the South Burnett, Central Highlands, Sunshine Coast and South East Queensland areas.
With this representative pathway now firmly established and entrenched on an annual basis, it may well open the door for future outback teams to work to a level and attend carnivals of a higher standard including the QRL State Junior Championships.
Following the teams’ arrival into Charleville on Friday, all players and team staff officials will be put through a NRL Development social responsibilities and educational program.
Special guests attending this year’s carnival include Geoff Orman (Chairman QRL Juniors Advisory Board), Glen Ottaway (Division Manager – QRL Central Division) and Peter Rafter (Outback Operations Manager – QRL Central Division).
Also attending will be delegates from the QRL Outback Advisory Committee, David Kerrigan (Barcaldine), Chris Waters (Cloncurry) and Scott Kyle (Mount Isa).
The 14s and 16s Round 1 games will commence on Saturday morning, with Round 2 matches to be played early in the afternoon.
Saturday’s scheduled program also includes local Charleville & District Junior Rugby League games as well as a ladies match and a Western League A Grade senior fixture.
Saturday evening will see all players and officials attend the Outback Carnival dinner at the Charleville RSL Club, where the QLD Outback Representative teams will be announced.
With their superior fitness and size the well-coached Northern Outback Teams have been a dominate force in both age groups at recent NRL Development Outback Shield Carnivals but you can rest assured their Southern Outback cousins will be ultra keen to reverse these results.
The Shaun Radnedge coached Southern Outback Under 14s boys will have local lads Matthew Delforce and Jack Radnedge to control things in the halves, speedy outside backs Wajerra Briggs and Lachlan Rose, while the forward pack will be ably lead by Central West boys Kent Tanks and Matthew Worland.
Northern Outback Under 14s coach Bruce Nott has plenty of size and mobility in his forward pack with Townies Club team mates Manahi McGregor, Leroy Snelling and Kaelin Kerekere, alongside Conah Sealy, giving the side plenty of strength in the middle. The very elusive Steven Numambo and hard running Centres Michael Coffison and Trent Roberts offer plenty in attack.
Southern Outback Under 16s coaches Nigel Steedman and Dwayne Kangan will no doubt be relying heavily on their big men Jayden Aramoana and Steven Card to give them some go forward. The creativity of Jay Steedman at halfback along with the speedy outside backs in Adam Hughes, Warren Draper and Royden Age is also a big plus.
Under the guidance of Mount Isa’s ‘Mr Football’ Scott Kyle, the Northern Outback Under 16 side appears to have plenty of size out wide in Jarom Mairu, Isaiah Bell and Malachi Retchford together with the speedy Mahana Ellison at the back and ‘Bruise Brothers’ Jeremy Murphy and Cooper Roll up front.
Previous winners of the NRL Development QLD Outback Junior Shield Carnivals.
2011 – Winton
Under 14s – Northern Outback – Player of the Carnival: Shaun Booth (Northern)
Under 16s – Southern Outback – Player of the Carnival: Matt Hempstead (Southern)
2012 – Longreach
Under 14s – Northern Outback – Player of the Carnival: Shaun Booth (Northern)
Under 16s – Northern Outback – Player of the Carnival: Mark Bull (Northern)
2013 – Barcaldine
Under 14s – Northern Outback – Player of the Carnival: Isaiah Bell (Northern)
Under 16s – Northern Outback – Player of the Carnival: Shaun Booth (Northern)
2014 – Mount Isa
Under 14s – Northern Outback – Player of the Carnival: Malachi Retchford (Northern)
Under 16s – Northern Outback – Player of the Carnival: Hunter Chong (Northern)
2015 Team Lists
(Subject to change)
Southern Outback Under 14
1. Ross Tilley – Charleville 2. Kyle O’Toole – Charleville 3. Wajerra Briggs – Charleville 4. Dylan Gale – Winton 5. Lachlan Rose – Longreach 6. Matthew Delforce – Charleville 7. Jack Radnedge – Charleville 8. Danny Marshall – Charleville 9. Connor Williams – Barcaldine 10. Kent Tanks – Winton 11. Matthew Worland – Longreach 12. Steele Howard – Charleville 13. Isaiah Shillingsworth - Charleville
Interchange: 14. Rueben Vaggs – Charleville 15. Ryan Blucher – Blackall 16. Robert Richardson – Blackall 17. Flynn Hinds – Blackall 18. Sam Card – Longreach 19. Jo Fransiscus – Winton
Coach: Shaun Radnedge Assistant Coach: Kim Williams Team Managers: Andrew Delforce & Kim Williams League Safe Officer: David Kerrigan Sports Trainer: Andrew Delforce
Northern Outback Under 14s (amended)
1. Phoenix Quinlan – Black Stars 2. John-Boy Punch – Wanderers 3. Trent Roberts – Black Stars 4. Michael Coffison – Cloncurry 5. Jakob Koina – Town 6. Bryson Smith – Town 7. Jeremy Germaine – Black Stars 8. Conah Sealy – Cloncurry 9. Steven Numambo – Wanderers 10. Leroy Snelling – Town 11. Trinity Andrews – Wanderers 12. Kaelin Kerekere – Town 13. Manahi McGregor - Town
Interchange: 14. Patrick Age - Wanderers 15. Kaleb Bennett - Black Stars 16. Callum Jones – Town 17. Jacqalee Major – Town 18. Bailey Derrick – Town
Coach: Bruce Nott Assistant Coach: Joshua Gough Team Manager: Terri Woodhouse League Safe Officer: Nathan O’Neil Sports Trainer: Laurie Ferguson Tour Manager: Chris Waters
Southern Outback Under 16s
1. Caleb Richardson – Blackall 2. Oliver Aitken – Charleville 3. Adam Hughes – Longreach 4. Warren Draper – Charleville 5. Royden Age – Barcaldine 6. Tom Kennedy – Mitchell 7. Jay Steedman – Charleville 8. Jamie Jackson – Longreach 9. Brodie Hollis – Longreach 10. Steven Card – Longreach 11. Joseph Saffy – Charleville 12. Jayden Aramoana – Charleville 13. Wade Kangan - Charleville
Interchange: 14. Ben Smith – Charleville 15. Charlie Aitken – Charleville 16. Leslie Brotherton – Winton 17. Rhein Leard-Lamont – Barcaldine 18. Cassidy Paynter – Charleville 19. Andre Laza - Longreach
Coach: Nigel Steedman Assistant Coach: Dwayne Kangan Team Manager: Jodie Moore League Safe Officer: Christian Paynter Sports Trainer: Dwayne Kangan
Northern Outback Under 16s (amended)
1. Mahana Ellison – Black Stars 2. Michael Pengelly – Black Stars 3. Isaiah Bell – Wanderers 4. Malachi Retchford – Brothers 5. Jarom Mairu – Black Stars 6. Quintin Chalmers – Black Stars 7. Clayton Fenton – Black Stars 8. Cooper Roll – Wanderers 9. Peter Bocos - Black Stars 10. Jeremy Murphy – Black Stars 11. Jonathan Alloway – Black Stars 12. Jadie Murray – Wanderers 13. Louis Hutchinson – Black Stars
Interchange: 14. Dylan Auld - Black Stars 15. Daile Coffison – Cloncurry 16. Diega Teaukura – Wanderers 17. Kane Hales - Wanderers 18. Malik Luff - Wanderers
Coach: Scott Kyle Assistant Coach: Mal MacRae Team Manager: Chris Murphy League Safe Officer: Clinton Fenton Sports Trainer: Laurie Ferguson Tour Manager: Chris Waters