The recent school holiday break brought more than just a few days off for some Toowoomba Juniors.
Many of the TJRL clubs participated in the Laurie Spina Shield and Gordon Tallis Cup in Townsville and Jason Hetherington Cup in Gladstone, whilst a few of the Toowoomba Juniors were busy representing Queensland on the junior rugby league stage.
Before the massive State of Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium, Jake Simpkin (Souths Tigers) played for Queensland against New South Wales in the annual interstate Under 16 battle.
In other representative news, Pat McGinn (Pittsworth), Mac Grealy (Valleys) and Josh Chappell (Dalby) were successful at the recent Under 15 Queensland Schoolboys competition.
The boys were part of the Queensland White team that beat the Queensland Maroons team 14-12 to make the Australian Schoolboys grand final.
Congratulations to all the Toowoomba Juniors who participated in the QRL State Junior Carnival, including the girls who made up the Central Crows Under 14 girls team.
They were undefeated throughout the carnival and went on the win the competition with many of the girls from Toowoomba - well done!
In other club news during the break:
Under 11 Laurie Spina Shield
The first week of the school holidays was super exciting for the Under 11s.
The team travelled to sunny Townsville to participate in the Laurie Spina Shield and had a great trip, coming away with four wins from four games on the first day and narrowly losing to the two top teams on the second day.
The Leprechauns finished 3rd in their pool with Brothers' player of the carnival going to Lachlan Ciesiolka.
Thank you to all the coaching staff and families who made the trip up north for the carnival.
Under 12 Jason Hetherington Cup
The Under 12s made the trip to Gladstone on July 7-9 to participate in the annual Jason Hetherington Cup.
Saturday saw some great footy played by the Leprechauns with a draw with Emu Park and narrow losses against Noosa and West Mackay.
The Leprechauns played West Bundaberg in the first final and came away with the win, but lost to Emerald in second final 8-4.
Overall, the Leprechauns finished 5th in their pool.
Congratulations to Harrison Clancy who was announced the player of Pool 3 and player of the carnival - great work Harrison!
Well done to all the boys on an outstanding effort in Gladstone and a well played carnival.
Local junior Nickolas Hearn spread his wings during the school holidays, playing in the Zone 5 Under 12 / Under 43kg carnival held at Tenterfield.
Hearn, who usually plays in the halves for his Oakey U11 side, wore jersey 16 in the 17-man squad of Central Downs - a team primarily made up with players from the Wattles and Pittsworth U11 and U12 sides.
With a late withdrawal from the squad, he was called up into the competition that includes sides as far west as Cunnamulla and Roma, and as far east as Wynnum in Brisbane.
Although Hearn played off the bench for the first two days of the carnival, it wasn’t long before he earned a spot on the run-on side, displaying exceptional ball skills and defence against sides made up mostly of Under 12 representatives.
Central Downs coaching staff were quick to utilise the Oakey halfback, realising his potential and toughness, throwing him in several key positions throughout the week and seeing him cross the try line for his efforts.
Although Central Downs finished third at the closing of the carnival, they were recognised for their efforts claiming the highly sort prizes of Best Back and Best Forward of the carnival who were Wattles pair; Lachlan Peardon and George Nott.
Nickolas Hearn in action for Central Downs U12s
In other club news, well done to Cruz Williamson and the Darling Downs team who came fifth in the Under 12 State Championships in Townsville recently.
The boys were fortunate enough to be spoken to by North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green and have their jerseys presented to them by Cowboys front rower and former Downs player Ethan Lowe.
Williamson played well and was awarded player's player on Day 4.
The boys should be proud of their efforts and showed good team work and sportsmanship throughout the week.
Under 12 Jason Hetherington Cup
The Highfields Under 12s headed to Gladstone to compete in the annual Jason Hetherington Cup.
The boys played their hearts out and finished 12th overall.
The team bonding, spirit and sportsmanship shown by the lads was inspirational and they are all better footballers for the experience.
Highfields v Souths Catch Up Match
The Under 14 and Under 16 teams missed the first round so had a catch up game recently at Gold Park.
The Under 14s had a slow start to the game with a few errors and went into the second half down 20-16, but whatever the coaching staff said to them at the break needs to be bottled up because the boys came out of the sheds in the second stanza to win the game convincingly.
They dug deep for each other on the field and had an outstanding second half, keeping Souths scoreless and took the win 38-20.
The Under 16s always have a tough battle with Souths, but certainly have gained a lot of confidence and should be super proud of their performance. It was tit-for-tat for most of the game with the scoreboard changing throughout.
The boys battled hard but ended up just falling short of the win, 30-26.
Under 11 Laurie Spina Shield
The Souths Tigers Under 11s took part in the Laurie Spina Shield on June 23-24 in Townsville.
Fundraising coordinator Clare Hurt did a fantastic job in planning and organising the team to attend the event.
The two-day carnival involved teams from across Queensland, giving the boys a great opportunity to play against teams outside their region.
Overall, the team finished the competition with four wins from six games and the club is very proud of their efforts in their first carnival, with the experience sure to be one they will always remember.
As well as playing games, the team enjoyed other great activities including meeting Cowboys players for signings and photos and watching the Cowboys get a close win against the Penrith Panthers on Saturday.
Thanks to all the families who also travelled to Townsville to support the team.
The Tigers with NQ Cowboys Jason Taumalolo and Coen Hess at the Laurie Spina Shield