Grassroots rugby league is built and continues to survive on a culture of volunteering.
Every weekend, countless numbers of rugby league volunteers across Queensland turn up to coach and manage teams, provide first aid, run canteens, officiate, and complete any number of other tasks required to ensure Rugby League is accessible and enjoyable to all.
With the 2017 just around the corner, all clubs throughout the state will be well in to planning for the year ahead and committees will have spent huge hours behind the scenes already to ensure their clubs and leagues are ready for the next eight months of rugby league competition.
Last month, several of these volunteers throughout Central Division were recognised via Australia Day Awards for their outstanding commitment not only to the sport, but to their community.
Junior and senior players were recognised for excelling on the field, administrators were recognised for their off-field commitment and entire leagues were acknowledged for their service to the community.
The Australia Day awards are presented nationwide across communities and are a significant honour for volunteers and in most circumstances, acknowledge a long- term commitment to the game.
QRL Central Division Chairman Danny McGuire noted that it was satisfying to see so many rugby league people across the Division receiving recognition for their service.
“The Central Division is a very diverse region and the number of people and organisations recognised highlights the impact that rugby league has on many of our communities,” Mr McGuire said.
Heading the list of recipients are Angela Renton (Central Highlands), Lyle Cherry (Roma) and Trent Hoad (Ilfracombe) who were all acknowledged as Citizen of the Year for the respective regions.
Recipients of 2017 Australia Day Awards across Central Division included:
Pittsworth RLFC – Pittsworth Senior Sports Award
Bundaberg Rugby League – Bundaberg Sporting Spirit Award
Millmerran JRL – Toowoomba Community Sport Award
Murgon JRL – South Burnett Event of the Year
Shane Shoesmith – Blackwater/Bluff Sports Award
Jared Owens – Springsure/Rolleston Sports Award
Katrina Taylor – Emerald/Gemfields Sports Award
Tanya Lambley – Emerald/Gemfields Sports Award
Angela Renton – Isaac Citizen of the Year
Jackie Kalinowsky – Issac Sports Medallion
John Birkett – Mitchell Sports Award
Gary Carrol – Miles Sports Award
Gavin Taylor – St George Sports Award
Maddison Spackman – St George Sports Award
Reagan Morris – St George Sports Award
Brian Argus – Taroom Sports Award
Lyle Cherry – Roma Citizen of the Year
Tom Eddie – Roma Sports Award
Shane Turl – Oakey Senior Sports Award
Trent Hoad – Ilfracombe Citizen of the Year
Cameron MacDonald – North Burnett Sports Administrator Award
Fay Kerkow – South Burnett Volunteer of the Year
Darren Burns – Gympie Sports Award
Darren Geiger – South Burnett Coaching Award
Col Pidgeon – South Burnett Administrator Award
Justin Vicary – Biggenden Volunteer of the Year