Under 14s teams from throughout the state and beyond will converge on Vico Oval in Cairns this weekend (September 24-25) for the annual Tassell Trophy Challenge Under 14s carnival.
This year, 14 teams – including Northern Territory team the NT Titans – will be playing for the Tassell Trophy with games starting at 8.30am on Saturday. The grand final will be played on Sunday afternoon at 1.30pm.
Locally, the Yarrabah Seahawks team have been in training for the past few weeks in preparation for the carnival.
Veteran coach Rod Griven said the team, including two of his grandsons, were looking forward to the weekend.
“It is a great opportunity for the boys to meet and play against teams from other districts,” he said.
The carnival will also feature an innovative All Abilities Exhibition Game, open for all ages, beginning at 1.15pm on Saturday and facilitated by the NRL Development team.
Referees from throughout North Queensland, with the average age of 16 years old, will be officiating, with the carnival used as a Development Camp for 15 referees/touch judges and nine support staff.
The challenge is named after the Tassell family of Cairns who have long-standing roots in the league community.
Tom has given more than 40 years’ service to both junior and senior rugby league for Kangaroos, Cairns and North Queensland as either coach, administrator, selector or advisor at all levels.
Tom is a life member of Cairns Kangaroos and also Cairns District Rugby League. Sandy is the first female Life Member of Kangaroos Junior Rugby League.
Their sons, Brad, Jason and Kris were all Kangaroos juniors with all three going on to play at ARL/NRL level. Brad was with Eastern Suburbs (Sydney) and is also an original Cowboy.
Jason was also with the Roosters, before joining South Sydney. Kris was Canberra Raiders, Canterbury Bulldogs, Cowboys and also represented Wales at the World Cup.
Kangaroos Juniors president Glenn Stewart said it was rewarding to have teams travel vast distances to participate in the carnival.
“Some teams have been fundraising all year to have the opportunity to travel to Cairns and play in the carnival, and although there is a trophy and title, the focus is on fun and enjoyment,” he said.
“Entry is free and we are looking forward to a great weekend.”
Previous winners of the Tassell Trophy Challenge:
2001 – Kangaroos Cairns
2002 – Logan Brothers
2003 – Southern Suburbs Cairns
2004 – Centrals ASA
2005 – Townsville Brothers
2006 – Cairns Brothers
2007 - Kangaroos Cairns
2008 – Kangaroos Cairns,
2009 – Western Lions Townsville
2010 – Townsville Brothers
2011 – Townsville Brothers
2012 – Clovelly Crocs Sydney
2013 – Emu Park Emus
2014 – Western Lions Townsville
2015 – Burleigh Bears