After over a decade absence, the Palm Island Juniors are back in the Townsville and District Junior Rugby League.
For the 2017 season, they will be entering an under 6, 8, 10 and 12s team. The teams played their first games on Saturday, April 29 after their first round was affected by Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
QRL Northern Division Manager Scott Nosworthy said the hardest thing will be to get all the players who have registered this year regular games due to the high level of interest on the island.
Thanks to the partnership with Sealink, who have offered the ferry ride from the mainland at a greatly reduced rate, 56 children will get to travel with 16 parents each week.
The only problem is more 120 players registered to play this year and with the only field on Palm Island due for an upgrade there will be nowhere for the remaining children to play on a weekly basis.
Once on the mainland the players are accommodated for the night, play in the morning and then return home on the midday ferry on Saturday.
“The community of Palm Island has been fantastic and have got right behind this project which was a massive exercise to get off the ground and now to get the teams over on a weekly basis,” Nosworthy said.
“Special mention must go to Mislam Sam, Councillor Roy Prior, Russel Parker and Zina Prior for their dedication towards getting this up and running. A special thanks also needs to go the Townsville and District Rugby League and the clubs in it for supporting this initiative.”
It is hoped that the teams next year will include under 7s,9,11s and 13s but this will be dependent on securing funding to make it a sustainable project.