Vicki a lifeblood of bush footy

Vicki a lifeblood of bush footy

Vicki Horton is a special person in the game - a true all-rounder of rugby league.

Not only is she the president of the Hughenden Bulls; she is also the secretary for Mid-West Rugby League, a sports trainer, a bus driver, a footy operations manager, an official of the game and a videographer. 

When asked ahead of Women In League Round why she chooses to do fulfil so many roles and give up so much of her time so young players can be involved in rugby league - the answer is the game itself.

"You do what you've got to do to make sure the kids have got an opportunity to play rugby league," Horton said.

"It's something I enjoy, I enjoy seeing these children get the opportunity to play footy, when my boy was young I was involved with junior rugby league."

The tyranny of distance has forced rugby league in the west to scale back in recent times, with the clubs playing cluster days to get their footy fix.

She's one of those people you'd say are the life-blood of our game of rugby league.

"Because we've got so far to travel, this year we've dropped back to just playing cluster days, (where) the three senior clubs come together," Horton said.

"When we travel to Richmond, it takes us about an hour and 10 minutes to get there; then when we travel to Julia Creek ... you're looking at a bit over two-and-a -half hours."

"We used to be a part of a bigger competition where we played against Normanton, Cloncurry and Mt Isa, but our town population has really dropped back, so we don't have the number of young people in town anymore. 

"We're lucky this year that we've got a squad of about 23, that's the most players we've had in quite a long time and most of them are ex junior-league players that have stayed on and got jobs locally."

Fortunately, Horton is able to lean on the QRL for assistance, butcommitment to the game in remote areas is key to the future of rugby league.

"I keep in contact with our development officers, they're usually based in Mt Isa, I also have close contact with [Northern Division (Region) manager] Scott Nosworthy.

"Scott is very familiar with how things run out in the mid-west area," Horton said.

"When we were big and involved with the Mt Isa competition ... I was able to contact Scott at any time for help and assistance."

Vicki Horton (right in blue) pictured with a friend during the recent Country Week event in Hughenden.
Vicki Horton (right in blue) pictured with a friend during the recent Country Week event in Hughenden.

Nosworthy praised Horton's work and described her as an undeniable asset to rugby league.

"I think Vicki is one of the heart and soul people of rugby league," Nosworthy said.

"She's been in it since I've been involved in the game in the Mid-West region and well prior to that as well.

"She does everything, she runs part of the Mid-West league, she's also with the Hughenden Bulls.

"She drives a lot of the activities of the town, I know that she's an active member within the community.

"She's everything for rugby league, she's the secretary, she's just recently done a sports trainer course so she does sports trainer on game day.

"She's one of those people you'd say are the life-blood of our game of rugby league, especially in the Mid-West and Outback remote regions."