The Queensland Rugby League has confirmed the six NRL Ambassadors who will engage with local communities throughout this weekend’s “Get in the Game” Country Week initiative.
Matt Bowen, David Shillington, Dallas Johnson, Nathan Friend, Steve Menzies and Petero Civoniceva are gearing up to hit the road as the Intrust Super Cup expands its footprint into regional Queensland.
Johnson (Julia Creek), Friend (Winton), Menzies (Mundubbera) and Civoniceva (St George) are all attending first-time Cup venues, while former Maroons stars Bowen and Shillington are off to Bamaga and Clermont respectively.
Bowen, who famously snatched an intercept to seal victory for the Maroons in Game I of the 2005 Origin series, will be a huge hit in Bamaga, which has previously hosted two Intrust Super Cup matches (2011 and 2015).
Clermont, a mining town 274km south-west of Mackay, will play host to its first Cup match since 2013 when the Central Queensland Capras play the Redcliffe Dolphins at Bear Park.
QRL Managing Director Robert Moore said “Get in the Game” Country Week will deliver considerable economic and social benefits to regional communities.
“Last year’s round generated $104,000 for the clubs and local leagues who hosted matches, and many of the clubs were able to make significant improvements to their facilities,” Moore said.
“To be able to take the Intrust Super Cup to four regional areas for the first time this year is a big achievement for the game.
“This wonderful initiative wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Queensland Government and the NRL, as well as staff from the QRL Football department who have undertaken a huge logistical exercise in conjunction with regional communities and Intrust Super Cup clubs to get the games off the ground.”
Each Country Week venue will be a hive of activity across the weekend, with community events, including race days and gala dinners as well as rugby league coaching clinics for boys and girls.
Local coaches and referees will also have the opportunity to upskill courtesy of the NRL Game Development teams.
A QRL Director will be present at each Country Week venue, providing a unique opportunity for the local league representatives to discuss key issues with rugby league officials.
A keen spectator in Winton for the Ipswich Jets v Townsville Blackhawks match will be Minister for Sport Hon Michael de Brenni, who earlier this year announced the Government’s new three-year sponsorship commitment.
Sunday’s Channel 9 match will be broadcast live from Mundubbera’s Archer Park, where the Easts Tigers play the Norths Devils.
· “Get in the Game” Country Week – Round 20:
Saturday, July 22
Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Northern Pride at Yusia Ginau Oval, Bamaga 3pm
CQ Capras v Redcliffe Dolphins at Bear Park, Clermont 5.30pm
Ipswich Jets v Townsville Blackhawks at Eric Lenton Memorial Recreation Ground, Winton 6pm
Sunday, July 23
Easts Tigers v Norths Devils at Archer Park, Mundubbera 1:40pm (Channel 9)
Burleigh Bears v Sunshine Coast Falcons at Rowden Park, St George 2pm
Souths Logan Magpies v Tweed Heads Seagulls at Kev Bannah Oval, Julia Creek 2pm
PNG Hunters v Mackay Cutters at National Football Stadium, Port Moresby 3pm