Outback legends: Dirranbandi Frogs

At a time when rugby league continues to become more and more accessible to play, a town in the Queensland outback is doing their bit to ensure their kids relish in the opportunity. 

Despite being impacted by the crippling drought that's diminishing the township's population, the Dirranbandi Frogs have seen a 100 per cent increase in participants since last season; growing from seven in 2018 to 14 this year, thanks to a few extra families moving to the region.

There are a lot of people and clubs that would have just given up due to such minimal participation numbers, but not in Dirranbandi.

Dirranbandi is located in the Balonne Shire, 600km west of Brisbane.
Dirranbandi is located in the Balonne Shire, 600km west of Brisbane.

The community of just over 600 people has dedicated parents and volunteers like Grant Murphy, and Simon and Edwina Graham, who ensure the club continues to thrive in the Balonne Shire.

Just like a lot of clubs in the outback, Dirranbandi sees the whole town get in to support the junior rugby league club. 

A great example of this was seen at the club's recent cluster day with neighbouring townships Lightning Ridge, Mungindi and St George.

There was a large funeral in the community on that particular day and to ensure they didn't forfeit their day, the community rallied together to help out, including the local police and ambulance service attending to help out in the canteen.

The Frogs have six Under 8 players, four Under 10s and two Under 12s. 

The 2019 Dirranbandi Frogs
The 2019 Dirranbandi Frogs

Charlie Persse, a parent and accredited coach, takes the 14 players at training once a week; he is also stepping up to be chairman of the Frogs next year.

When the Frogs travel to another venue, they team up with the Mungindi Grasshoppers in each age group and play their games. 

When Dirranbandi host home games, the Grasshoppers players all become Frogs for the day.

They have played all their home games since 1971 at the Dirranbandi State School and with the help of Balonne Shire Council and Queensland Government, new amenities, canteen and dressing rooms were erected at the grounds, which is shared with local sports including cricket and touch.

A snapshot of the effect the devastating drought is having on Dirranbandi - this photo was taken next to the State School.
A snapshot of the effect the devastating drought is having on Dirranbandi - this photo was taken next to the State School.

Whilst it can't be determined if the Dirranbandi Frogs are the smallest club in Australia, they sure must be close to it. 

The dedication of the local community and volunteers cannot be questioned and the future looks in safe hands as all they want is for their kids to be able to play our great game for years to come.

*The story of the Dirranbandi Frogs is part of the Outback legends series shared on QRL.com.au, highlighting the enormous contributions made to keep the rugby league flame alive in the Queensland outback.