Adrian Vowles - from Origin to outback

Some people, including ex-players, are relentless in giving back to the game.

This year, the Western Rugby League have scored an absolute bonus with former Queensland Maroons star Adrian Vowles coming out of retirement to run out with the Charleville Comets against Cunnamulla. 

Vowles played with both teams when growing up in the area and looks forward to lacing up the boots this weekend.

"I am really looking forward to playing on Saturday," Vowles, nearly 48, said.

"I have always wanted to play a game out there. When we had the Adrian Vowles Cup out there (earlier this year), I found out the men's comp was struggling, so thought I'd head out for a game.

"I learnt to play footy at John Kerr Park, Cunnamulla and haven’t played there since 1988, so it will be great to revisit and bring back some old memories.

"My father played for Cunnamulla for many years, as did my grandfather, and I was lucky enough to play and live in both great towns as a kid, and it’s something I am very proud of."

Vowles, whose 21-year-old sons Jye and Trai are playing for Burleigh Bears' reserve grade this year, said he was looking forward to playing with friend Shaun Radnedge's 17-year-old son Jack.

"It'll be quite nostalgic," Vowles said, adding he hoped to get a game with his sons at some point this year too. "I'll see how I get through this game."

The Western League has struggled over the last two seasons, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

This year, a two-team competition involving both Charleville and Cunnamulla will play over four weeks, providing plenty of healthy, friendly banter between the two townships.

At the end of the ‘State of Origin’-like concept, any players who want to play a full season can then be released to play in nearby competitions.

Vowles’ passion for the game sees him happily funding his own airfares to Charleville to join the rest of the team and travel by bus to Cunnamulla.

Adrian Vowles in action for Castleford Tigers.
Adrian Vowles in action for Castleford Tigers.

It is anticipated a huge crowd will turn up to watch their local hero run out against the local up-and-comers.

The experience of having him play in Comets colours will be invaluable to both clubs and an experience that players in both teams will talk about for the rest of their lives.

Vowles’ contribution to the game has not just been on the field.

After his playing days with the Gold Coast Seagulls, North Queensland Cowboys and Castleford Tigers (to which he was named the Super League’s Man of Steel), his dedication has continued off the field, coaching the SEQ and Queensland Women's teams for a number of years.

Also, his contribution has been enormous in helping to revive junior footy in the West with his Adrian Vowles Cup held annually in Charleville. 

The QRL wish him all the best for this weekend’s match and cannot thank him enough for what he contributes to rugby league, especially in the Outback.