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Blackall Rugby League Club and Edmonton Junior Rugby League Club are both up for Best Club in the 2019 Clubbies Awards.  

Despite having a declining population in drought-stricken Western Queensland, no clubhouse and no pokies to bring in resources, Blackall Rugby League Club has thrived. 

The Blackall Magpies took out the 2018 QRL Grassroots Club of the Year and NRL Grassroots Club of the Year; and have now made the finals for Best Club in Inside Sport's Clubbies Awards. 

The Blackall Magpies had a particularly exceptional 2018; after a 30-year wait, they won the Central West premiership in Ilfracombe.

The Blackall Magpies celebrate their 2018 grand final win.
The Blackall Magpies celebrate their 2018 grand final win.

Magpies President Phil Rooney said, within the club's nomination, "footy has been a life saver out here". 

"After spending the week on the farm having to shoot our own stock…it’s good to come into town on the weekend and catch up with my mates," he said. 

Queensland Outback QRL Operations Manager Peter Rafter added "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," Rafter said. 

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

The Blackall Magpies are up against 24 other finalists - from a wide range of sports from right across the country - in the Best Club category, and the winner will be determined by public vote. 

Edmonton Junior Rugby League Club, the largest rugby league club in Queensland's far north, is also in the running for the gong. 

Nestled in a high unemployment belt, it has around 400 players who come from diverse backgrounds including Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, South Sea Islander, Polynesian and non-English speaking; some have gone on to land NRL contracts.

But grants officer Daniel Erbacher said, as part of the club's nomination, “what we are most proud of is the worthwhile sense of community engagement and character development that is a part of being one of our players". 

Some of the other clubs in the running include Nerang Cardinals Baseball Club, Mt Pleasant Netball Club and Rockhampton Bowls Club.

To help get the Blackall Magpies or Edmonton across the line, visit Inside Sport Clubbies Awards before March 28 and vote. 

Video: Bill Scurfield // QRL Media

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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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