Mackay Brothers are Laurie Spina Shield champions

After a bumper weekend of rugby league, Mackay Brothers Blue lifted the Laurie Spina Shield in Townsville after a thrilling 16-8 win over Townsville Centrals in the grand final.

The grand final was played at 1300SMILES Stadium as a curtain raiser to the recent NRL game between Cowboys v Rabbitohs game. 

Mackay Brothers Blue played eight tough pool games over two days before moving into the quarter finals against Townsville Brothers White. 

This put them up against the skilful Wynumm Manly Seagulls team from Brisbane which was a close match and the defence from both sides was outstanding.

Scores were locked at 4-4 at fulltime, but as Brothers were the first try scorers in the game, they then progressed through to the grand final. 

Mackay Brothers coach Paul McSherry was thrilled.

"While these boys might be small in stature, they are giants on the inside," McSherry  said.

"They have a very close bond as most of the team have played together for a number of years." 

Over the two-day carnival, more than 1100 players from near and far descended on the grounds at Townsville Brothers Rugby League Club in Kirwan.

Junior rugby league action in this year's 23rd annual Laurie Spina Shield Photo: North Queensland Cowboys
Junior rugby league action in this year's 23rd annual Laurie Spina Shield Photo: North Queensland Cowboys

A total of 70 Under 11 teams took part in an enormous 279 games where they played at least six round-robin matches.

This season marked the eighth consecutive year the Laurie Spina Shield competition featured a capacity field.

The Laurie Spina Shield, now in its 23rd year, is coordinated by the North Queensland Cowboys and is one of Australia's largest junior rugby carnivals.

The carnival places emphasis on fair play, participation, respect, sportsmanship and enjoying the 'greatest game of all'.

More than 1000 junior rugby league players queued to meet Cowboys players at a signing session on the first day of competition.

Tully Tigers Under 11 team got to meet former Tully Tigers junior Jake Clifford and were just one of the many teams who got to rub shoulders with their North Queensland Cowboys heroes Photo: North Queensland Cowboys
Tully Tigers Under 11 team got to meet former Tully Tigers junior Jake Clifford and were just one of the many teams who got to rub shoulders with their North Queensland Cowboys heroes Photo: North Queensland Cowboys

North Queensland teams, players came from as far as south east Queensland, central Queensland, Northern Territory and Torres Strait Islands.

The Laurie Spina Shield, established in 1997, is named after North Queensland Cowboys' inaugural captain.

Several current and past Cowboys NRL squad members including Michael Morgan, Jake Clifford, Enari Tuala, Ray Thompson and Kyle Feldt all played in the Laurie Spina Shield as juniors.

Players from the Bowen Seagulls Under 11 team at the Laurie Spina Shield in Townsville Photo: North Queensland Cowboys
Players from the Bowen Seagulls Under 11 team at the Laurie Spina Shield in Townsville Photo: North Queensland Cowboys

Main image: Mackay Brothers Blue were crowned this year's champions and presented with the Laurie Spina Shield by the great man himself after they defeated Townsville Centrals in the grand final on the weekend Photo: North Queensland Cowboys