It may not have been an NRL game that came to Jandowae at the weekend, but in the eyes of the young local players, it may as well have been. 

Round 4 of the QRL Mal Meninga Cup saw the Central Crows and Norths Devils meet in Jandowae in conjunction with the local show and rodeo.

It proved to be a big weekend for the small community, doubling its population of 800 for the two big days.

The Western Downs Junior Rugby League also organised an Under 10 and Under 12 development day prior to the match being played with all players and parents staying to watch.

After the match, some of the young local juniors approached the players to get autographs.

It’s still uncertain as to who was more excited … the Under 18 players or the local juniors.

The players were very obliging and also included the kids in the team photo after the game. 

The Norths Devils proved too strong for the Central Crows who arguably have one of the hardest tasks in Queensland Rugby League. 

Players sign autographs at Jandowae

These young players come from a large area including Roma and Districts, Wide Bay, South Burnett, Gladstone and Central Highlands each week.

The preparation for the Crows is a little different to most others due to the vast distances the players travel just be to be part of the Under 18 elite competition.

The team gets together on the Saturday prior to game day to train before playing their match on that afternoon or the next morning against teams that have had a much more structured training regime.

You have to admire not just the players, but also the coaching staff for their dedication to the team, giving the boys an opportunity to live their dreams and play in an elite QRL competition.  

The local Jandowae Jackaroos junior club, which averages approximately 50 players per season, put on a great day and it was amazing to see how many volunteers turned up to help on the day.

It’s an absolute credit to the Jackaroos and to the Jandowae rugby league community who also tasted senior rugby league earlier in the season for the first time in 54 years when the Jandowae Fish Hooks took on the Dalby Diehards in an exhibition trial match.