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Under 14 girls will compete in the QRL Junior State Championships for the first time when the 2016 carnival gets underway in Toowoomba this Thursday.

The four-day carnival brings together more than 340 junior players and hundreds of volunteers from across the state in an outstanding showcase of rugby league’s development pathways.  

The QRL’s three Divisions – South East, Northern and Central – will compete in a total of 37 Under 13, Under 14 and Under 16 games at the Toowoomba Brothers club.

With women’s rugby league growing each season, the inclusion of the Under 14 girls’ competition is a natural fit.

“The introduction of this age group follows on from the success of the Under 16 girls format in recent years,” QRL managing director Robert Moore said.

“We’re proud of the fact that the women’s game is the fastest growing area of rugby league nationwide, and to now be able to provide this opportunity with support from the State Government is a real coup for the game.”

Moore said the carnival would place a strong emphasis on enjoyment, wellbeing and development.

All participants will have taken part in the NRL Wellbeing program before the opening kick-off, with decision making and nutrition among the topics.

The scope of the carnival is perhaps best illustrated by the opportunities provided for players in the Far North.

Participants from the Torres Strait Islands, Weipa, Mount Isa, Cairns, Mackay, Townsville and the Atherton Tablelands attended the recent Northern Queensland Junior Championships for the chance to represent the Marlins in Toowoomba this week.

“North Queensland is a massive area and relies on its hard working QRL and NRL staff and fantastic volunteers to make sure that there is football played across venues all over NQ every weekend,” Northern Division manager Scott Nosworthy said.

“It is all worth it when you see young men and women from all areas selected for representative teams and that the pathways being created are allowing opportunities for everyone in the great game of rugby league.”

Toowoomba Junior Rugby League president Dan Aldons said the TJRL was thrilled to be chosen as the host league.

“We recognise that events such as the State Championships provide an opportunity to foster and develop the future stars of our game, and we are delighted to be involved with this year’s event,” Aldons said.

Matches will be played at the Brothers club’s Glenholme Park senior and junior ovals from the Thursday through to Sunday.

Brothers Toowoomba Junior Rugby League president, Jason Brookes, said his club was “drenched in rugby league history” with current NRL stars Johnathan Thurston and Ashley Taylor having worn the jersey.

You can follow the Live Scores here: QRL Junior State Carnival Live Scores

QRL Junior State Championships – Draw & Team Lists click here