Why Outback Carnival is one of the most magical league events
It's everything you'd want reality TV to be - minus the pretentiousness, long ad breaks and confected conflict.
The QRL Outback Carnival will be held in Barcaldine, Central Queensland this Saturday, June 16.
It represents one of the purest, most exciting event on the modern rugby league calendar.
And what makes it all the more dramatic is that the concept is inescapably real.
If you measure the value of something by how much people are willing to sacrifice to obtain or participate in something, then the Outback Carnival is certified rolled gold.
Players will converge from the farthest and most remote corners of Queensland's immense 1.8 million square kilometres, unpaid warriors travelling for days, looking for a rare opportunity under the miscroscope, putting their bodies on the line.
It's a chance to proudly represent hometowns and regions that are not often at the front of the nation's, or even the state's, focus.
In previous years the likes of Coen Hess, Kierran Moseley, Michael Purcell (pictured above receiving the Player of the Carnival award in 2013), Billy McConnachie, Davin Crampton and Brendon Marshall have all come through the Outback system.
All went on to taste either NRL or Intrust Super Cup.
For McConnachie it led to an international career for Scotland, where he lined up against Australia and then took part in a historic draw with New Zealand.
The Outback Carnival produces entertaining football played in an environment where the stakes are high.
Who knows what opportunities may come for those who appear?
If you're someone who is ever tempted to get disillusioned with what rugby league means to the people that play it, this is the perfect tonic.
This weekend is to rugby league what Triple J Unearthed or The Voice is to aspiring musicians; it's what Masterchef is to culinary hopefuls; and what NRL Rookie should have been .
There is no more nurturing event for rags to riches tales throughout the league season.
OUTBACK CARNIVAL DRAW
Saturday, June 16
9.30am – Northern Outback v Central West (A Grade)
10.55am – Southern v Northern (Under 18)
12.05pm – Lunch
1.00pm – South West v Northern Outback (A Grade)
2.25pm – Northern v Southern (Under 18)
3.40pm – Afternoon tea
4.00pm – Central West v South West (A Grade)