Helping outback kids create a lifetime of memories

The annual Glyn Rees City / Country Exchange recently held at Coolum Colts on the Sunshine Coast was a major success.

There were 26 teams from South East Queensland, Toowoomba, Warwick, Western Downs, Sunshine Coast and the Queensland Outback that participated this year, with Under 16 girls being included for the first time along with Under 14 girls and Under 14 and Under 16 boys.

The players who represented the Outback started their trip on Tuesday night (June 25) with the girls from Normanton meeting their bus in Cloncurry, which left Mount Isa at 4am on Wednesday (June 26). 

The trip continued on, picking up players along the way from numerous towns and arriving on the Sunshine Coast at 9am Thursday morning (June 27), travelling a distance of 2056 kilometres each way just to play a couple of games of footy.

It’s a long trip for the players and the dedicated coaching team, but the experience is all worthwhile with some players seeing the beach for the first time.

The Outback players had a number of training sessions prior to their first game on Saturday and all teams performed well and a huge improvement was noticed in all teams across the weekend.

This carnival is an opportunity for not only the Outback teams, but all teams involved to play footy at a higher level than they would normally and create lifetime memories and friendships.

It might be the only carnival where scores are not kept and awards not being handed out, providing a different atmosphere and environment over the weekend.

Players from different teams are keen to play with other teams when they are short after injuries start to take their toll over the weekend and coaching staff are always keen to help out opposition teams where possible.  

Overall, it is always an enjoyable weekend of top footy.

A big thank you to the Sunshine Coast Falcons for organising the Under 16 girls and boys Outback teams to play Sunshine Coast at Sunshine Coast Stadium as a curtain raiser to the Falcons v Dolphins major competitions games.

For the fourth year running, the Queensland Police Service continued their partnership with Queensland Outback Rugby League with their Recruiting team, Cultural Engagement Unit and Rural Crime Squad speaking to players, parents and supporters about the different aspects of Policing in the Outback.

This partnership is also supported by the Australian Government’s Alcohol and Drug Foundation LDAT funding program.

Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons prop Steph Hancock, who is an also a serving Senior Constable, was again present to help out the Outback girls teams. 

Her efforts are greatly appreciated by everyone and she would be without doubt be an inspiration for many girls who play the game.

Hancock also participated in the Queensland Police Women’s representative team who took on the Sunshine Coast Women’s team in a hard-fought win to the Police team. 

This game drew a big crowd and hopefully is going to be a permanent fixture in future years at the event. 

Brad Beetson, son of Maroons great Arthur Beetson and an integral part of the Arthur Beetson Foundation, was also in attendance and was impressed by the talent on show. 

The ABF has continually supported and been a major sponsor of Outback Rugby League for over five strong years.