Registrations are open for this year’s Arthur Beetson Foundation Murri Rugby League Carnival which will be held at Dolphin Oval from Wednesday, September 20-23.
Already, 30 teams have nominated to take part in what is set to be the biggest tournament yet.
It is expected that more than 60 teams in the Men’s, Women’s and Under 15’s divisions will attend the biggest Indigenous sporting carnival in Queensland.
The event is drug free, alcohol free and importantly sugar free. It is the biggest sugar free event in Australia and unique in the sports world.
The carnival represents an innovative way to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to take responsibility for their health – every single player is required to have a health check with their GP before taking to the field or court.
Junior players must also have achieved a 90% school attendance rate to be eligible to play.
Brad Beetson (son of the late Arthur Beetson and Board Member of the Arthur Beetson Foundation), said his father would have been proud to see so many people taking part.
“Dad was absolutely passionate about young Australians, and particularly young Indigenous Australians, achieving better health, education and welfare outcomes,” Beetson said.
“He would have been so pleased to see the huge number of teams travelling from all over Queensland to compete in the Under 15, Men’s and Women’s competitions.”
League legend and Deadly Choices Ambassador Steve Renouf said that the carnival was a key event for raising the representation of Indigenous players in the NRL.
“The Murri Rugby League Carnival is recognised as a showpiece of Indigenous sporting talent and it really does provide an environment that encourages community to take responsibility for looking after their health,” he said.
“We’ve got teams from all over Queensland, including from the Torres Strait, Mt Isa and the Gold Coast indicating their willingness to nominate for this year’s event.”
The Arthur Beetson Foundation Murri Rugby League Carnival is promoted as Australia's largest alcohol, tobacco and sugar free event, and is supported by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health's 'Deadly Choices' Program.
The Murri Rugby League Carnival is recognised as a showpiece of Indigenous sporting talent.
CEO of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health Adrian Carson said the carnival was about much more than football and sport.
“With preventable chronic disease the major contributor to the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Queenslanders, the carnival encourages and empowers our people to take control of their health,” Mr Carson said.
“Whilst we've seen a reduction in recent years, tobacco smoking continues to be the most preventable cause of ill health and early death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and is responsible for one in five deaths.
“Reducing smoking rates, along with other lifestyle risk factors such as nutrition, physical activity and alcohol, is the target for our Deadly Choices program and closing the gap in health of our communities and educational outcomes for our young people is the only scoreboard that really matters at the Murri Carnival.”
Queensland Health has estimated the current life expectancy gap for Indigenous males at 10.8 years and 8.6 for Indigenous females.
NRL selectors will be paying close attention to all divisions.
Under 15s representatives will be eyed for selection for an upcoming tour of and to join the 2018 Under 16 QRL Indigenous Team.
Players in the Women’s competition will have the opportunity to be selected for the NRL Women’s Indigenous All Stars Development Squad.
“At the recent Maroon Festival, QRL management stated that they see the Murri Under 15s Carnival as the start of the pathway which ultimately leads to future Origin players,” Steve Johnson, Chairman of the Arthur Beetson Foundation said.
“We are proud the greatest of all Indigenous Sportsman name is so closely associated with this pathway event.
“Without the support of the State and Commonwealth Governments, Moreton Bay Regional Council and the Queensland Rugby League; this event wouldn’t achieve what it does in terms of making a real difference in the health, education and sporting outcomes for our Indigenous youth and at the same time remembering the legacy of Arthur Beetson.”
Teams wanting to get all the information can go to www.murrirugbyleague.com.au