Rugby league identities honoured in Baton Relay

Local rugby league identities have been acknowledged for their contribution to the sport and the community, with the honour of being named along with former NRL star Justin Hodges as Queen’s Baton Relay bearers for the Commonwealth Games.

The relay kicked off in Cairns on Friday.

After watching the next generation of players participating in the NRL Development Cup at Jones Park on Wednesday; stalwarts of the game and Baton bearers, Kev Woodward, Harry Deemal, Peter Narducci and Tanya Tully traded stories and experiences of the game past and present.

Harry Deemal and Ken Woodward from Northern Division.
Harry Deemal and Ken Woodward from Northern Division.

Ken Woodward has mentored and coached generations of junior rugby league players, beginning his coaching tenure in 1954 at Balaclava State School and within a couple of months was coaching the sport at Edge Hill, Central and North Cairns schools before the formation of the club junior rugby league in 1964.

Harry Deemal’s love of rugby league began by following in his dad’s footsteps as a player with the Nambour All Whites club and he has built a lasting legacy in the game as a coach and administrator throughout the Cairns and Regional Areas.

Peter Narducci Northern Division.
Peter Narducci Northern Division.

Peter Narducci is well known throughout the region, having previously had a role as a QRL development officer, coach, referee and currently as an administrator.

Peter was instrumental in the formation of the Northern Cyclones Masters teams, engaging players aged over 35 years to stay in the game and is active with the Men of League organisation.

Tanya Tully represents the new age of rugby league, in her many and varied roles in the game as president of White Rock Junior Rugby League, coach, Level 2 sports trainer, referee, NRL Development, QRL game day manager with the Northern Pride and passionate advocate for female rugby league.

Tanya Tully Northern Division.
Tanya Tully Northern Division.

All are humbled by the acknowledgment of their contribution and having the honour to be part of the historical event.