You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Growing up in the remote community of Julia Creeks some 450km north of Longreach, the rugby league-mad Fegen boys didn't worship Darren Lockyer and other Maroons players, but local legends such as their father Trevor Fegen and the rest of the Julia Creek Saints.

In a community that in days past revolved around the weekend game of rugby league, any hopes the local kids had of one day playing for the Saints evaporated a decade ago when the senior club folded and the junior club followed three years later.

But there is hope and with the first Intrust Super Cup game to be played at Kev Bannah Oval this Sunday between Souths Logan and Tweed Heads there is new optimism that the Saints might one day rise again.

Julia Creek is one of four regional towns hosting an Intrust Super Cup game for the first time this weekend for Country Week, an annual excursion which is made possible by the support of the Queensland Government, NRL and the QRL.

The significance of hosting such a high-profile game for Julia Creek is that any game of rugby league has been hard to come by in recent years.

After the senior club folded in 2008 the juniors followed soon after in 2011, a town that once was such a rugby league stronghold that the local kindergarten conducted 'Saints Day' the day before each game went two years without a game of any note.

In 2013 what is now the annual Town v Country game was played for the first time and in 2014 a three-match Origin-style series called the Shire Showdown was played in Julia Creek and Richmond 150km due east, the 2017 clash to be held following the Inrust Super Cup game between Souths and Tweed.

The Fegen family became an integral part of the rugby league scene when they moved to Julia Creek some 25 years ago – Trevor was the captain, Janene the secretary – and now Calem is behind the push to bring the Saints back.

>> Catch up on all the Intrust Super Cup reports and highlights videos

Intrust knock-on effect

President of the Combined Sporting Association in Julia Creek – and voted to possess Australia's best butt at the annual Dirt 'n' Dust Festival in 2015 – Calem is hopeful that on the back of the Intrust Super Cup coming to town Julia Creek will once again became a league stronghold.

"When I was a kid it was huge. You didn't grow up wanting to be Darren Lockyer or Billy Slater, we grew up wanting to be Dad or one of the other blokes that played for the Julia Creek Saints," Calem says.

"Growing up all you wanted to do was play for the Saints. I still want to grow up and play for the Saints.

"At the moment we're having these one-off games to try and get people interested. We had a three-game Origin series in 2014, shire verse shire, where we played two here and one in Richmond.

"We'll try and get that again next year and maybe the year after that aim for a little comp. Even if it was just an eight or six-round comp with Richmond and Hughenden just so we can get football going again."

>> Intrust Super Cup Round 20 teams

Race day

With the annual McKinlay Races on the Saturday 100km to the south of Julia Creek it's a massive weekend for an area that is 650km west of Townsville, the organising committee at Julia Creek agreeing to host their game on Sunday so as not to clash with another event so important to the region.

In the build-up to this weekend Julia Creek's resident sport and recreation officer Renee Hick has been conducting an eight-week OzTag competition and an influx of young people coming back to town in recent years has made games of touch footy at Kev Bannah Oval actually possible.

"When I used to come back, if we played touch on a Thursday night once every two weeks you'd be lucky to get five people come down," says Calem, who attended boarding school in Brisbane before returning to Julia Creek to begin an electrical apprenticeship.

"Now we're getting 20-25 people coming down twice a week which is unheard of."

>> Intrust Super Cup Round 19 STATS

Bit less lush

As for the state of the field, Calem admits that it might not exactly be what the players from Souths and Tweed have become accustomed to.

"I'm not going to lie, the Intrust boys might be in for a bit of a shock. It's definitely not going to be the grass they're used to," he said.

"It's a lot better than when we were kids. I remember before they got grants to do it all up you'd jump up after making a tackle and you'd have a goathead [thorn] hanging off your arm.

"It's definitely improved since then."

Did you know?

The remote community of Bamaga, as far north as you can go without falling off the top of Australia, is hosting its third Intrust Super Cup game this Saturday with the Northern Pride featuring for the third time. In 2011 the Pride went down 40-22 to Souths Logan and then in 2015 they got the better of Norths 26-10. They come into this game on a club-record eight-game losing streak and having lost their past three games against Wynnum Manly.

A former editor of 'Big League', Tony Webeck is the Chief Queensland Correspondent for

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Platinum Partners

View All Partners