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Hervey Bay's most recent result in senior footy was a 0-72 defeat at the hands of Bundaberg Brothers.

The Seagulls have won just one of 11 games, scoring 139 points and conceding 464 to sit last on the ladder.

They've had roughly 15 players leave town since last season.

They're some of the reasons why Tuesday's Fraser Coast Fan Day visit by the Queensland State of Origin team will be the perfect dose of perspective – for both groups.

Origin coach Kevin Walters and his troops may have faced plenty of hurdles in their 2018 campaign, but they can draw inspiration from the challenges endured by people all over Queensland who play and support 'The Greatest Game of All'.

Likewise, the locals will get a boost from some of the game's biggest stars visiting town; a reminder that rugby league is all about enjoyment and community in the long run.

"It's a huge shot in the arm," says Terry Lynch, a former premiership winner and volunteer who served the Seagulls for 33 years until recently.

"Seafront Oval will be chock-a-block with kids and there's a huge buzz around town."

Reports are that families are travelling from as far as Mackay and Emerald to Hervey Bay, journeys of roughly seven hours in either direction.

While the Origin series may have already gone to New South Wales, local councillor Darren Everard was defiantly claiming the new-look Maroons line-up would form "the start of another dynasty".

Rugby league fans in Hervey Bay know plenty about remaining optimistic, having experienced just a smattering of premierships in their history – and plenty of lean years in between.

Before their most recent premiership in 2016, their previous title came in 2001 when current Canterbury Bulldogs coach Dean Pay was running the pub in town and played and coached for free.

"Outside of the times we've had a few notable captain-coaches, we have seemed to struggle all the time," says David Yarrow, another long-time Seagulls servant.

"One time we amalgamated with Maryborough, changed identity and played as the Dragons, and there were definitely seasons when we really, really battled.

"It was always a fear (that the club would fold), but it's not one any of us wanted to face.

"We've had years where blokes have played reserve grade then backed up to play A grade straight after, but we know lots of regional clubs do that around Australia when times are tough."

Ask around Hervey Bay and the commonly identified issue that causes challenges is lack of employment opportunities.

While the medical and hospitality fields are strong on the Fraser Coast, many young league players leave in their teens to either study or pursue a trade in more populous areas.

"I loved it when I lived there. The lifestyle is perfect," says the most recent premiership-winning coach Tye Ingebrigtsen, now with the Northern Pride under 18s.

"I guess the problem is that, if you take footy seriously, it's in between the Sunshine Coast Falcons and the Central Queensland Capras in a geographic sense, so it's hard to see a pathway.

"Employment can be hard to come by too and that's why I eventually left town – because my wife fell out of work.

"But it's a beautiful place; a great place to live."


HEROES ARRIVE: Although this year's State of Origin series has already been decided, excitement is building for the...

Posted by WIN News Wide Bay on Thursday, 28 June 2018

Tye and father Craig Ingebrigtsen, current Sunshine Coast head coach, have been central to helping Hervey Bay gain hosting rights to an Intrust Super Cup club clash later this month.

Sunshine Coast will face the Pride at Stafford Park on Saturday, July 28, at 6pm.

Another positive is the popularity of junior and women's rugby league in the Fraser Coast region.

"Last year, we saw a seven per cent increase in numbers with the Fraser Coast Junior Rugby League with 717 registered players,'" QRL Managing Director Rob Moore said.

"Numbers are presently tracking behind that figure, but we hope this exciting news and the upcoming visit from Kevin Walters and his team will provide a substantial boost."

Hervey Bay's women's team is currently second on the ladder in the Bundaberg competition.

Seagulls female coach and newly-appointed club president Brendan Bowers said 2018 was a rebuilding season where he encouraged supporters to focus on positives.

"It has been a very tough year for our men's team, but we are a one-team city and there's an identity and pride in that," Bowers said.

"There's a lot of history in the Fraser Coast and the region is host to some of the oldest rugby league clubs and original representatives of Queensland, and indeed Australia.

"Our focus is making sure everyone now involved in the club enjoys their experience and we create a good culture.

"There's been a lot of chat about the Origin team visiting and it's great to see that excitement on the streets."

The Fraser Coast Fan Day follows previous Maroons events held in rural and regional Queensland, including Mackay, Gladstone, Proserpine, Longreach, Bundaberg, Emerald and Maryborough

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.

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