Honouring the Outback way

Craig Logan's favourite thing to hunt and eat is goanna.

"We hunt goannas, turkeys, echidnas, turtles, boars, kangaroos. Some other guys hunt crocodiles, but no not me. That's too risky.

"But yeah, goanna is my favourite to eat.

"It's got a flavour of its own and it's not for everyone, but once you acquire the taste, away you go."
Logan has stumbled onto this topic while discussing the upcoming Queensland Outback Rugby League Carnival.

The junior version of the Outback Carnival will be held May 19-20 in Blackall, while the senior Outback Carnival is to be held in Barcaldine on June 15-17.

Logan was a player in the very first Outback Carnival in 2004, when he was just 19 years of age.

In all, he went on to represent Outback five times, playing all of his football either with the Doomadgee Dragons or Normanton Stingers.

Outback Carnival is an event which is quintessentially Australian and speaks volumes about the great expanse of our nation, geographically, demographically and culturally.

Players are brought together from some of the most remote communities one can imagine.

Doomadgee, for instance, is 34-and-a-half hours' drive from Brisbane, nestled deep within the Gulf of Carpentaria region.

"I've always loved the Outback concept," says Logan.

"It gives fellas from out here a chance to show what we can bring to the table.

"There's more talent than you can poke a stick at in these parts and it would just go to waste without any opportunities."

Logan remembers an Outback representative game in northern New South Wales which he travelled to in stages, and took him the best part of a week – including a detour when the team bus got lost.

He has witnessed and been a part of Outback teams that have provided several stars to Intrust Super Cup clubs.

Kierran Moseley, Michael Purcell, Billy McConnachie, Davin Crampton and Brendon Marshall are among those which quickly spring to mind.

For others, such as Logan, who became a police liaison officer and is now a youth worker with Save The Children, the concept helped provide a platform for him to provide a positive example for others in his region.

And this is where the conversation ties into goannas and living a traditional, subsistence life on the land.

"Hunting after work to provide not only for my family, but also for others in the community is extremely important to me," he says.

"I use it to teach others you don't have to reach for the bottle to escape the world if you can keep in touch with your culture and do something meaningful.

"Don't lose your identity, you'll feel better inside your heart."

With seven children of his own, Logan says he learnt a lot from his own father, who vowed once he had kids to not waste his life on alcohol.

Indeed, Logan's parents fostered and adopted multiple children in addition to Craig and his two sisters.

"Back in the early 90s I remember going to watch my Dad play rugby league up in Kowanyama in Cape York," he fondly recalls.

"Those fellas up there didn't eat goanna, but all the people from Doomadgee were catching them and cooking them on the sidelines while the game was going on.

"Doomadgee was scoring a few tries, then the locals turned to us and said 'You're so fast because of all those goannas you're eating."

Logan also credits a lot of his passion and enthusiasm to long-time country rugby league enthusiast and administrator Dave Kerrigan.

The competition Doomadgee now feeds its players into, the Gulf Cluster, is now back up and running for 2018.