Experienced mentor Bert Tabuai will take the reins of the Queensland Murri Under 16 side and hopes to maintain the strong focus on values and learning that have been established over recent years.
The former Canberra Raiders and North Queensland Cowboys player has a wealth of experience in coaching roles and joins the established team of staff who will select the Queensland Murri Under 16 side for next year’s representative fixture.
Taking over from Keiron Lander who will next year serve as the head coach of Intrust Super Cup side the Ipswich Jets, Tabuai will be joined in the staffing ranks by assistant coach Jardine Bobongie, team manager Gary Halliday, head trainer Ron Tasker, sports trainer Dwayne Kangan and team mentor and trainer Leo Dynevor who return from last year’s successful campaign.
Hailing from the Torres Strait, Tabuai's family are from Saibai Island.
As well as playing rugby league, Tabuai has 16 years of experience serving as a member of the Queensland Police Service.
Currently the head coach of the Under 20 side at Norths Rugby League Football Club in Rockhampton, his side have been grand finalists for the past three years in a row.
His representative coaching experience includes his time with the regional Queensland Under 20 team and as head coach of the Rockhampton Rustlers Under 20 side that competed at the 47th Battalion.
Away from football, Tabuai is hoping that the players selected to be part of the Queensland Murri Under 16 program will continue to develop and progress not just as players, but as people.
“What I would like to offer to these young players is an opportunity and pathway that they could obtain through rugby league and connecting with the community,” Tabuai said.
“It will be a great encounter in giving them knowledge, but also an understanding of making them better as a person, representing their culture and their families.
“I believe their own current goals will be an important factor as well. This will provide them with a base foundation as they begin to write it and then reflect on their own legacy later in their life.
“The current Queensland Murri carnivals and previous camps have been productive in producing past players like David Fifita, Ashley Taylor, Brenko Lee and Dane Gagai just to name a few; so, these next young players can aim for the clouds and they too can achieve as well.
“I would also like to acknowledge the current support staff Jardine Bobongie, Gary Halliday, Ron Tasker and team mentor Leo Dynevor who will be valuable to the squad and myself.
“I feel privileged and humbled to be amongst these great men.”
The Queensland Murri Carnival will take place at South Pine Sports Complex from October 1 to October 5, with the Queensland Murri Under 16 side to be predominately selected from their performances at the tournament.