The Mackay Brothers Under 14s are embarking on an epic 850 kilometre one-way journey today to participate in this weekend's Adrian Vowles Cup in Charleville.
The idea to travel the colossal distance and participate in one of the most popular events on the rugby league calendar was encouraged by a group of parents who were keen for their kids to play in the pre-season carnival, according to coach and club president Andrew Battaia.
"We’ve got a pretty good bunch of parents here. They love their footy and are keen to get the boys to wherever they need to go," Battaia said.
"It got put to us at our presentation day last year as a good thing to do before the season started so we had a think about it and sent it out to see who was keen.
"We got 19 boys interested, so we’re all raring to go."
Not only is Battaia hoping the weekend will give valuable game time to his players to see how they're fairing before the season commences, but he is also hoping it will be a good bonding trip for his close-knit team.
"The main reason of going is that we want to give ourselves a test and see where we’re at," Battaia said.
"We’ve got a really keen bunch of kids with a lot of good players in our side who live and breathe footy and we’re keen to play a few different sides.
"The boys are definitely chomping at the bit [to play].
"We have done a pre-season as a club with all our older age groups together and all of our boys have been there every session and are keen and ready to go... they can’t wait."
In its eighth year, the carnival will play host to a record-breaking 40 teams, an achievement organiser Adrian Vowles never expected to happen when he and best mate Shaun 'Zoro' Radnedge first came up with the concept.
"We are very proud of how far we have come since 2014 when we had just three teams," the NRL and Super League journeyman said.
"For Zoro and I, it was just about keeping footy in the bush alive to allow the kids to play the greatest game of all.
"All we ever set out to do was grow it each year be it one team or four. What we didn’t account for was how popular it would become.
"Between myself, Zoro, Pete Rafter and Darren Curtis, and our helpers here, we have tried to make it fun and we have always been hands on with it from the start and running it our way.
"We are all mates with the people who attend the carnival now which makes it even more special."
With teams coming from everywhere across Queensland to be involved, Vowles believes teams make the adventure to the Outback to be part of the carnival's unique atmosphere.
"I think [people make the journey] because of the fun atmosphere and also the kids can make the dream team at the end of carnival and get specially made jerseys," Vowles said.
"We have winners but the carnival is played in such a great spirit.
"No one bags the referees, we don’t have touch judges and players fill in for other teams when they are short.
"We are one big family."
The 2021 Adrian Vowles Cup kicks off tomorrow in Charleville.
2021 Adrian Vowles Cup draw
Friday, February 26 - Baker Street Oval
|12pm||Under 16 Boys||Wallumbilla / Surat Red Bulls v Redcliffe Dolphins|
|12.20pm||Under 16 Boys||Mitchell Magpies v Ipswich Grammar|
|12.40pm||Under 16 Boys||Roma Cities v South Burnett Eagles|
|1pm||Under 16 Boys||Emerald Tigers v Toowoomba Brothers|
|1.20pm||Under 16 Boys||Norths Devils v Souths Tigers|
|1.40pm||Under 16 Boys||Central West v Valleys Yellow|
|2pm||Under 16 Boys||St George Saints v Valleys Black|
|2.20pm||Under 16 Boys||Lowood Stags v Dalby Diehards|
|2.40pm||Under 16 Boys||Wallumbilla / Surat Red Bulls v Souths Toowoomba|
|3pm||Under 17 Girls||Valleys / Gatton v Southern Outback|
|3.30pm||Under 17 Girls||Brothers v Roma Cities|
|4.10pm||Under 16 Boys||Mitchell Magpies v Toowoomba Brothers|
|4.30pm||Under 16 Boys||Roma Cities v Souths Tigers|
|4.50pm||Under 16 Boys||Ipswich Grammar v Redcliffe Dolphin|
|5.10pm||Under 16 Boys||Central West v Dalby Diehards|
|5.30pm||Under 16 Boys||Emerald Tigers v Valleys Black|
|5.50pm||Under 16 Boys||Norths Devils v South Burnett Eagles|
|6.10pm||Under 16 Boys||Valleys Yellow v Lowood Stags|
|6.30pm||Under 16 Boys||St George Saints v Souths Toowoomba|
Friday, February 26 - Charleville Showgrounds
|12pm||Under 14 Boys||Western Ringers v Mackay Brothers|
|12.20pm||Under 14 Boys||Mitchell Magpies v Beaudesert Kingfishers|
|12.40pm||Under 14 Boys||Lowood Stags v Highfields Eagles|
|1pm||Under 14 Boys||Dalby Diehards v Norths Devils|
|1.20pm||Under 14 Boys||South Burnett Eagles v Roma Saints|
|1.40pm||Under 14 Boys||Benderoo / Wandoan v Easts Tigers|
|2pm||Under 14 Boys||Toowoomba Valleys v Redlands Parrots|
|2.20pm||Under 14 Boys||Redcliffe Dolphins v Toowoomba Brothers|
|2.40pm||Under 14 Boys||Souths Toowoomba v Carnarvon Cubs|
|3pm||Under 14 Boys||Mackay Brothers v Central West|
|3.20pm||Under 14 Boys||Western Ringers v Beaudesert Kingfishers|
|3.40pm||Under 14 Boys||Mitchell Magpies v Norths Devils|
|4pm||Under 14 Boys||Lowood Stags v Roma Saints|
|4.20pm||Under 14 Boys||Dalby Diehards v Easts Tigers|
|4.40pm||Under 14 Boys||South Burnett Eagles v Redlands Parrots|
|5pm||Under 14 Boys||Benderoo / Wandoan v Toowoomba Brothers|
|5.20pm||Under 14 Boys||Toowoomba Valleys v Carnarvon Cubs|
|6pm||Under 14 Boys||Redcliffe Dolphins v Souths Toowoomba|
|6.20pm||Under 14 Boys||Central West v Highfields Eagles|
Saturday, February 27 - Baker Street Oval
|8am||Under 14 Boys||Central West v Dalby Diehards|
|8.20am||Under 14 Boys||Highfields Eagles v Benderoo / Wandoan|
|8.40am||Under 14 Boys||Easts Tigers v Souths Toowoomba|
|9am||Under 14 Boys||Roma Saints v Redcliffe Dolphins|
|9.20am||Under 14 Boys||Norths Devils v Toowoomba Valleys|
|9.40am||Under 14 Boys||Redlands Parrots v Carnarvon Cubs|
|10am||Under 14 Boys||Beaudesert Kingfishers v South Burnett Eagles|
|10.20am||Under 14 Boys||Toowoomba Brothers v Mackay Brothers|
|10.40am||Under 14 Boys||Western Ringers v Lowood Stags|
|11am||Under 14 Boys||Easts Tigers v Mackay Brothers|
|11.20am||Under 14 Boys||Roma Saints v Redlands Parrots|
|11.40am||Under 14 Boys||Norths Devils v Toowoomba Brothers|
|12pm||Under 14 Boys||Highfields Eagles v Carnarvon Cubs|
|12.20pm||Under 14 Boys||Beaudesert Kingfishers v Souths Toowoomba|
|12.40pm||Under 14 Boys||Central West v Redcliffe Dolphins|
|1pm||Under 14 Boys||Western Ringers v Toowoomba Valleys|
|1.20pm||Under 14 Boys||Mitchell Magpies v South Burnett Eagles|
|1.40pm||Under 14 Boys||Lowood Stags v Dalby Diehards|
|2pm||Under 14 Boys||Roma Saints v Carnarvon Cubs|
|2.20pm||Under 14 Boys||Mackay Brothers v Redlands Parrots|
|2.40pm||Under 14 Boys||Easts Tigers v Toowoomba Brothers|
|3pm||Under 14 Boys||Benderoo / Wandoan v Dalby Diehards|
|3.20pm||Under 14 Boys||Norths Devils v Souths Toowooomba|
|3.40pm||Under 14 Boys||Highfields Eagles v Redcliffe Dolphins|
|4pm||Under 14 Boys||Beaudesert Kingfishers v Toowoomba Valleys|
|4.20pm||Under 14 Boys||Mitchell Magpies v Lowood Stags|
Saturday, February 27 - Charleville State High School
|8.30am||Under 16 Boys||Emerald Tigers v Souths|
|8.50am||Under 16 Boys||South Burnett Eagles v Valleys Black|
|9.10am||Under 16 Boys||Lowood Stags v Souths Tigers|
|9.30am||Under 16 Boys||Wallumbilla / Surat Red Bulls v Valleys Yellow|
|9.50am||Under 16 Boys||Souths Toowoomba v Toowoomba Brothers|
|10.20am||Under 16 Boys||Valleys Black v Norths Devils|
|10.40am||Under 16 Boys||Valleys Yellow v Emerald Tigers|
|11am||Under 16 Boys||Mitchell Magpies v Souths Toowoomba|
|11.20am||Under 16 Boys||Souths Tigers v Ipswich Grammar|
|11.40am||Under 16 Boys||Toowoomba Brothers v Roma Cities|
Saturday, February 27 - Charleville Showgrounds
|8.40am||Under 16 Boys||Norths Devils v Mitchell Magpies|
|9am||Under 16 Boys||Dalby Diehards v Redcliffe Dolphins|
|9.20am||Under 16 Boys||St George Saints v Ipswich Grammar|
|9.40am||Under 16 Boys||Central West v Roma Cities|
|10am||Under 17 Girls||Roma Cities v Southern Outback|
|10.30am||Under 17 Girls||Brothers v Valleys / Gatton|
|11.10am||Under 16 Boys||Dalby Diehards v St George Saints|
|11.30am||Under 16 Boys||Wallumbilla / Surat Red Bulls v Central West|
|11.50am||Under 16 Boys||Lowood Stags v Redcliffe Dolphins|
|12.10pm||Under 17 Girls||Valleys / Gatton v Roma Cities|
|12.40pm||Under 17 Girls||Brothers v Southern Outback|
|1.20pm||Under 16 Boys||Valleys Yellow v Mitchell Magpies|
|1.40pm||Under 16 Boys||Valleys Black v Redcliffe Dolphins|
|2pm||Under 16 Boys||Souths Tigers v South Burnett Eagles|
|2.20pm||Under 16 Boys||Toowoomba Brothers v Wallumbilla / Surat Red Bulls|
|2.40pm||Under 16 Boys||Roma Cities v Dalby Diehards|
|3pm||Under 16 Boys||Ipswich Grammar v Lowood Stags|
|3.20pm||Under 16 Boys||South Burnett Eagles v Emerald Tigers|
|3.40pm||Under 16 Boys||Norths Devils v St George Saints|
|4pm||Under 16 Boys||Central West v Souths Toowoomba|
|4.20pm||Under 14 Boys||South Burnett v Western Ringers|
|4.40pm||Under 14 Boys||Central West v Benderoo / Wandoan|
|5pm||Under 17 Girls||Grand Final|
|5.40pm||Under 14 Boys||Grand Final|
|6.10pm||Under 16 Boys||Grand Final|