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Blackall Magpies fly high with community win

After breaking a 30-year premiership drought earlier this season, more good news has swooped on the Blackall Magpies Senior Rugby League Club, being recognised as the QRL's Grassroots Club of the Year.

The success has been welcomed by all involved with the club and rugby league has been a cornerstone sport in Blackall for more than a century.

The Magpies has always been supported by a passionate community, despite the ongoing severe drought and economic downturn in Western Queensland.

The club has battled a number of difficult seasons, struggling to find players throughout the years - but that well-known 'Outback resilience' has allowed the club to remain strong.

Even in 2012, when a local team could not be formed, keen players from Blackall travelled to Quilpie to ensure they could participate in the greatest game of all.

The following year, a combination of new players and the formation of a diverse committee saw the mighty Magpies fly again.

Through significant sponsorship and community support, the club soared back into the hearts of their supporters, taking to the field to compete in the Central West competition.

Drought can't suppress rural spirit

President Phil 'Flop' Rooney believed the award should be celebrated by the whole community, not just the Magpies club itself.

"Our club simply wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the people who worked so hard to get the Blackall Magpies going again," Rooney said.

This award belongs to our whole community – the players, sponsors, coaching staff and supporters who believe in this club and do whatever it takes to keep it running well.

Phil Rooney Blackall Magpies President

Broader engagement within the community is an aspiration of the club, with players volunteering to cook barbecues at a variety of events.

The boys even swapped their boots for aprons to help pour tea and coffee at the annual Anglican Flower Show.

The committee, with assistance from local sponsors, organised a regular charity match to raise funds for the Rett Syndrome Association of Australia, West'n Breast, the Prostate Support Group and the Australian Anti-Ice Campaign.

Players also took time to visit local schools to run skills and drills sessions with their younger supporters.

This season, in an exceptional year, the Blackall Magpies soared to new heights.

Hundreds of proud fans travelled from all over to show their loyalty and passion for the mighty Magpies.

They were not disappointed when, after a 30-year wait, the club won the Central West premiership in Ilfracombe.

The nomination for firstly the Region's community award; then up to the statewide level was a 'no-brainer' for Queensland Outback QRL Operations Manager Peter Rafter.

"From the beginning, I have been impressed with the way the club has been run and how passionate everyone in the town is," Rafter said.

I believe that clubs in the Outback areas are not just about footy; they provide entertainment and a social gathering point for communities that need a reprieve from daily struggles.

Peter Rafter Outback QRL Operations Manager

"The Magpies may not win every year, but the same passion and community spirit is there, regardless of the result."

*This story was written by Blackall Magpies Secretary Lisa Alexander

Read More >> Blackall Magpies win The Grassroots Club of the Year in the 2018 NRL Community Awards