Lower Gulf claim Remote Areas Challenge title

The team from Lower Gulf were victorious in this year’s annual Remote Areas Rugby League Challenge played at Jones Park in Cairns over the weekend.

Lower Gulf's Tibau Stephen was also named Player of the Carnival, capping off a great tournament that also saw him named in the Skytrans North Queensland United  representative team.

The team will play against Queensland Outback at Ken Brown Oval, Thursday Island on July 20 as the curtain raiser before the Intrust Super Cup 'Get in the Game' Country Week match between Northern Pride and Ipswich Jets.

Remote Areas Rugby League Challenge results 

Day 1 - June 29

ZKRL / East Coast 8 defeated Southern Cape 6

Lower Gulf 10 defeated ZKRL/East Coast 4

Lower Gulf 12 defeated Southern Cape 10

Day 2 - June 30

ZKRL/East Coast 28 defeated Southern Cape 4 

Lower Gulf 14 defeated Southern Cape 6

Lower Gulf 18 defeated ZKRL/East Coast 10

Tibau Stephen from Lower Gulf team was named Player of the Carnival and presented with a Queensland State of Origin jersey by QRL staff
Tibau Stephen from Lower Gulf team was named Player of the Carnival and presented with a Queensland State of Origin jersey by QRL staff

To take part in the Cairns tournament, players  travelled long distances from various remote area communities including: Doomadgee, Mornington Island, Normanton, Burketown, Thursday Island, Lockhart River, Bamaga, Palm Island, Coen, Wujal Wujal, Cooktown, Kowanyama, Hopevale and Pormpuraaw.

Queensland Rugby League Northern Regional Assistant Manager Robbie Moore, said he was pleased with the turnout. 

“Every team faced each other twice over the weekend in a round robin format with the games played in the right spirit and score lines were all very close with Lower Gulf team taking out this year’s Challenge," Moore said.

"Players had an opportunity to impress coaching staff and selectors with their talents and skills and there was plenty of razzle dazzle on display.”

Moore said the challenge was not just about playing rugby league, but also providing education and wellbeing sessions with health provider Deadly Choices.

The 'Healthy Lifestyles, Healthy Choices' program highlights the importance of players being leaders and role models in community.

As well as the representative team, Northern Region also identified an emerging squad of 25 players who will be in the future mix and have an opportunity for further development and identification pathways into North Queensland United.

The 2019 North Queensland United Emerging squad which was named after the Remote Areas Rugby League Challenge played in Cairns
The 2019 North Queensland United Emerging squad which was named after the Remote Areas Rugby League Challenge played in Cairns

North Queensland United Team (also part of the Emerging squad)

Kevin Bell (Lower Gulf)

Didymus Blanket (NPA)

Alistair Bowie (Lockhart River)

Jaymin Cobus (Hopevale)

Sebastian Creek (Coen)

Tristan Elu (Lockhart River)

Budhagi Gibuma (Pormpuraaw)

Bauz Harry (ZKRL)

Anthony Joseph (ZKRL)

Dominic Macumboy (Lockhart River)

Brendan Magala (NPA)

Raoul Miller (Palm Island)

Frederick Pascoe (Lower Gulf)

Isaac Rokeby (Lockhart River)

Jaidon Schafer (Lower Gulf)

Dimitrius (Ishmael) Soki (ZKRL)

Tibau Stephen (Lower Gulf)

Izaac Toby (Lower Gulf)

Northern United Emerging squad only below:

Shannon Aplin (Lower Gulf)

Frederick Bulsey (ZK/East Coast)

Kelvin Castors (ZK/East Coast)

Ahbung David (ZK/East Coast)

Daniel Linden (Lower Gulf)

Nicholas McNeil (Lower Gulf)

Leighton Sam (ZK/East Coast)

Tyrone Spratt (Three Rivers)

Kiren Tarpencha (Three Rivers)

Coaches: Thomas Loban and Robert Yorkston

Manager: Michael Loban

The North Queensland United team will be co-coached by Thomas Loban and last year's North Queensland United coach Robert Yorkston who are both hoping for a different result from last year's annual clash with Queensland Outback.

Main image: The Lower Gulf team were winners of the Remote Areas Rugby League Challenge played in Cairns over the weekend