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Rejuvenated Indigenous youth program launches

Queensland Rugby League's South East Queensland Region has joined forces with the Arthur Beetson Foundation and Institute for Urban Indigenous Health's Deadly Choices program to unveil an updated Indigenous youth program.

This will include those living in Brisbane, Ipswich and on the Gold Coast.

SEQ previously oversaw the MeWe program in Brisbane and at the Gold Coast, with the contribution of Sid Doyle and Gary Phillips to deliver these sessions acknowledged.

SEQ chair Brad Tallon confirmed the Region’s commitment to Indigenous youth in the area, and also welcomed the participation of all partners to deliver a first-class education, lifestyle and rugby league package to the junior male and female indigenous participants.

“This has been some time in the making, but this hugely beneficial partnership will reap great rewards for our young people throughout the region,” Tallon said.

Arthur Beetson Foundation's Steven Johnson said it was great the Queensland Rugby League was "proactively trying to better outcomes for Indigenous youth and putting life into the Academy - a dream we have long held". 

“The participants will have to achieve a 90 per cent school attendance rate in the period before and after the camp and must have a current Form 715 health check … if a prospective participant has a bad conduct record at school or with their local club they will be ineligible to participate in the Academy,” Johnson said.

“The goal is to get more and keep the young people playing in QRL competitions and learning more about culture and healthy life choices in a safe environment.”

This new schedule will launch on May 25 when each local league will stage an education and testing day in association with Deadly Choices.

The program will this year include junior boys aged under 13 and under 15; and junior girls aged under 15 and under 17. 

Johnson said the age groups included in the program enabled "otherwise unidentified talent to be seen and worked with to potentially make a QRL team (under 14, under 16 and under 18)". 

Following this initial testing day, a squad of approximately 15 to 20 players would be identified to continue this program within each of the three local league areas; and from this QRL’s South East Queensland Region will enter these teams into the Murri Carnival at the end of the year.

The Intrust Super Cup clubs based in southeast Queensland have also guaranteed their support for this program, committing players to act as mentors for the Indigenous youth and offer guidance and support to ensure a positive income for all stakeholders.

“This great willingness to offer their time is acknowledged and appreciated,” Tallon said.

Expressions of interest to participate on this day are open now, and all eligible children should register.

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