While junior league in its purest form was on display at Clifton’s Platz Oval last Saturday when the Wattles Warriors faced up to the Stanthorpe Gremlins in the Round 10 Warwick & District Junior Rugby League Under 16 fixture, there were significant values also on display, endearing the teams to onlookers not just as players but also respecting young men.
Under the organisation and guidance of Wattles Under 16 coach Grant Lollback, the club that centres on the Allora-Clifton area of the Darling Downs, the rugby league homes of the likes of Shane Webcke and the Platz brothers, Lew and Greg, the Wattles Warriors arranged a special day of commemoration and undraising in support of the ‘Soldier On’ charity.
‘Soldier On’ supports Australian service men and women who have been wounded, physically or psychologically in contemporary conflicts. This includes conflicts after 1990, as well as serving members who were wounded in training or other exercises and individuals working for other Government agencies.
In a day that was a great showpiece for junior rugby league, both clubs put on some entertaining footy for the crowd that gathered to watch all on offer in the Under 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14 & 16 grades.
The Gremlins led the Under 14 match 16-14 but stepped up to the plate in the second stanza to eventually win 38–14 over a gallant Wattles outfit.
The ‘Soldier On’ Under 16 encounter was in every respect a tough but fair game frosted with sportsmanship and skills. Wattles emerged 20–18 winners in a hard fought contest. Both teams played in camouflage design jerseys especially crafted for the day, and made available for all players involved by some most generous sponsor donations.
Lieutenant Colonel Steve Stockley from 1 Oakey Army Aviation Base attended the event, along with Allora RSL Sub-Branch Vice President Lieutenant Commander Sarah Turner RAN Retired, and made official presentations of the commemorative jerseys to both teams. He also presented post match awards, including ‘Best & Fairest Player’ awards to Nick Van Der Poel (Wattles) and Reagan Sullivan (Stanthorpe) and medallions to all players involved.
Lieutenant Colonel Stockley commended both clubs on their participation and support of ‘Soldier On’, especially the players and all connected with arranging the event, including organiser Grant Lollback.
“Soldier On is about Australians coming together to show their support for our physically and psychologically wounded," he said.
Thanks to the support of the Australian public, those that work within ‘Soldier On’ strive to enhance recovery, inspire communities and empower Australia’s wounded, giving those who have served our country the dignity they deserve and the chance to do and be whatever they choose.
The very special day in the Wattles calendar included a giant multi-draw raffle also for the benefit of ‘Soldier On’, as will a portion of proceeds gathered from the sale of commemorative jerseys ordered for those other than the players.
Lollback was more than impressed with the funds raised, $3,300 to be forwarded to ‘Soldier On’ including a $300 donation by the Stanthorpe Junior Rugby League Club.
Wattles junior Club President Paul Duggan rated the day a great success and a day his club will recall with great pride. “We are so very grateful to all who supported the cause by sponsorship, donation or purchase of raffle tickets and jerseys in recent weeks and game day, and the efforts and performances of the players involved, such wonderful ambassadors for the game.”