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All smiles at Charleville's Mulga Cup

The Under 11 Mulga Cup was played for the third year in Charleville recently, with teams coming from as far as Rockhampton and Wynnum... a distance of 800 kilometres each way.

The extra attraction with the carnival this year was that some areas like South Burnett and Rockhampton have had no footy at all and the weekend gave them a chance to show their skills, as well as teams who have only played limited footy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It just shows how much rugby league means to these parents and players to travel this far for a weekend of footy.

A weekend like this in the Outback is not just good for the players, providing them with an experience they might not get if it was not for footy; but it also provides a major boost for the local community who gets behind an event like this and helps out where they can. 

Carnivals like these are organised by passionate locals to provide extra footy for their kids as there is not much footy for these players as most times, there might only be two teams in certain age groups who have to play each other a couple of times a year. 

As well as the extra game time, events like this give them competition against other players who they would not ordinarily meet.

It also gives players from the bigger cities an insight to what the Outback is about and how far these players travel every week just for a game.

Accommodation was fully booked throughout Charleville with some shop shelves running empty by the Monday morning.

All teams played nine games of 15 minutes with all games played in the right spirit with teams cheering on opposition sides.

All games were close contests and some future stars were showing their many talents.

A Mulga Cup All Stars team was selected at the end of the carnival with selected players receiving a commemorative jersey to remember the carnival. 

These selections were not made solely on ability, but from players who showed good behaviour and sportsmanship both on and off the field.

Three of the standout players for the weekend were Wandoan's Paige Miles, Blackall's Jaeda Wright and Quilpie's Bella Challenor.

These young girls more than held their own on the field against the boys and a special presentation was made at the end of the weekend to them.

They all have a bright future in our sport with Wright being rewarded with selection in the All Stars team.

Overall, it was another great weekend of footy in the Outback with special thanks to Ross Walton and Andrew Short who put their heart and soul in to organising this carnival.