Former Origin star, 40, in tough assignment

He was pound-for-pound one of the toughest players at the height of his Queensland Origin career – and John Doyle had a chance to prove that again when he laced up his boots last weekend for Town in the Mount Isa league.

While Origin is considered by many the most challenging arena to test one's self, 40-year-old Doyle faced the nightmare of every suburban footballer – taking on the opposition with nine players in 30C heat.

What was billed in some quarters as a possible grand final preview against the Cloncurry Eagles was diminished when only the bare minimum number of players turned up for Town due to a variety of competing commitments.

Local newspaper the North West Star said Doyle, usually the Lions' coach, was the last player to emerge from the sheds in his playing kit to ensure the match could go ahead.

It was not the first time Doyle had taken the field this year when his team was understrength, but it was arguably his most difficult assignment.

That showed on the scoreboard, when the previous competition leaders were swamped 36-0 by Cloncurry partway through the first half.

Town then staged a mini revival, nabbing a try either side of halftime, and suddenly the possibility of a miracle seemed real.

Any threat of a win-for-the-ages was snuffed out however, when a Town player suffered an injury, leaving only eight fit players on the field for the Lions.

Under QRL rules the game was brought to a close, with the score of 36-8 in Cloncurry's favour standing.

Town were defending premiers from 2017, while Cloncurry won the title the previous year in 2016.

This year's Mount Isa competition is a five-team league, with Brothers, Black Stars and Wanderers rounding out the entrants.

Famous rugby league players to come from Mount Isa and represent the Maroons include Kalyn Ponga, Coen Hess, Scott Prince, Jamie Goddard, Russell Bawden and Nathan Fien.