Normanton Stingers club president Bevan Owens was thrilled to see the turnout and community support generated by the town and nearby communities for this past weekend's #CountryWeek event.
"It was a great experience for us out here in the country – there’s a good crowd, a well behaved crowd and it was great to see the Intrust Super Cup boys in action; I’ve never seen an Intrust Super Cup game before, so it was great. It was great to meet all the QRL staff as well,” he said.
He was also pleased to see the field was in good condition to host all the day's important games.
“We have a great crew at the Shire Council who look after it … it’s a good ground … it’s been a good community effort to host it here.”
The Souths Logan Magpies and Wynnum Manly Seagulls were the two clubs that took their game to the remote town near the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria with the day capped off by three big Battle of the Gulf finals and a fun and frantic junior LeagueTag game.
After a little coaxing - a huge number of children from the crowd took part in the game facilitated by NRL Development staff; with an encouraging number of girls taking to the field, enough to form their own team.
The day started with the key matchup between the top-of-the-table Burketown up against a spirited Doomadgee side and it was arguably the match of the day.
Despite finishing fourth in the ladder; Doomadgee came close to pulling off a mighty upset and held the lead a number of times in a thrilling and seesawing game. The result was only decided in the final seconds when Burketown star Sage Marshall dove over to put his side into the grand final with the fulltime buzzer about to go.
Sports Trainer Taren Carr was on hand all day manning the medical tent, seeing to all manner of bumps and bruises (and busted lips) suffered by the players from all teams.
Formerly a Normanton local who only recently moved back from Townsville, she said she was pleased to be involved in the day.
"I love these games,” the former Western Lions trainer told QRL Media. “I will try and go away with (the teams) to the Cluster games next year.”
Youth wellbeing officer Alyssia Edwards - another Normanton local - also spent the day in the medical tent and was shadowing Taren to learn more about first aid.
"I’ve spent the day observing; I’ve been learning a lot,” she said.
While admitting to not being the biggest fan of rugby league, Alyssia said she was enjoying watching all the games and being part of the day.
The second game of the day saw the hometown Stingers side up against Mornington Island who had to put in an amazing effort just to be there.
The side rely on generous donations and sponsors to take part, as the distance involved for them is considerable and costly. Making it to a Cluster event can cost upwards of $10,000 for the team each time.
This was another entertaining encounter full of speed, skill and passion, but in the end Normanton proved too strong. Interestingly, the Mornington Island side featured Sorren Owens, the son of Bevan, who played with visiting team due to him being based there for work.
It was a 6pm kick-off for the #CountryWeek Intrust Super Cup game which Wynnum Manly claimed in an upset over the Magpies; and once that game was done, it was time for the grand final.
Burketown had brought plenty of support with them and they were in full song during their games; matching the vocal support of the home Normanton crowd, including members of the local police service who were there to support the community event.
While both sides played well, Burketown showed why they were the tournament favourites with some classy tries holding the Stingers fightback at bay to win 26-18.
After the tournament presentations (that included acknowledgements for all the helpers and volunteers that made the day possible), the two Cup teams were honoured with a corroboree where an appreciation dance was performed for them to thank them for coming out to the area.