A fun flashback to a young David Fifita helped announce the new dates for this year's Arthur Beetson Foundation QAIHC Queensland Murri Carnival.
As a precocious 11-year-old, the current Gold Coast Titan, Queensland Maroons and Australian rugby league representative had a plan to dominate.
“I want to be a rugby player because I watch a lot of rugby league and know about it and I got a scholarship down at Keebra Park State High school,” a young Fifita declared in vision shared at the Queensland Murri Carnival launch held at the Queensland Rugby League offices in Brisbane.
The Inala youngster understood the value of good health and education which had been instilled upon him through attendance at his first Deadly Choices leadership camp for young, aspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys and girls.
Fast track just four short years later and the teenager claimed an initial step towards achieving his lofty goals; a coveted Maroons cap with the Queensland Under 16 Murri team, at the completion of the 2016 ABF QAIHC Queensland Murri Carnival.
To officially launch this year’s 10-year anniversary event, which was cancelled last year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, former Queensland great Steve Renouf was joined by a host of high achieving Indigenous Australians including Deadly Choices ambassadors Tracey Thompson, Willie Tonga, Justin Hodges and Bo de la Cruz.
This year, the state-wide carnival will be held this year from September 20-25, with the annual showpiece to return to Albany Creek Crushers for the 10-year celebration.
The carnival will be a smoke-free, alcohol-free and sugar-free event.
It will require participants to have their 715 health checks up to date, adults enrolled to vote, while youngsters also need a 90 per cent school attendance rate.
The Arthur Beetson Foundation (ABF) continues to expand its rugby league pathways with the intention this year to reward all underage divisions as players vie for Queensland merit team honours in under 13, under 15 and under 17 boys grades, plus under 15 and under 17 girls.
The QRL enjoys a comprehensive partnership with Deadly Choices and sees great potential in the expanded opportunities available for statewide underage participants.
QRL Managing Director Robert Moore said the announcement was an important one for the game.
“The ABF QAIHC Queensland Murri Carnival is a significant annual event for many communities who love their rugby league,” Moore said.
“As custodians of the game, we pride ourselves on providing opportunities for male and female participants across the state.
“That’s why we are delighted to support this carnival and welcome the new initiatives which have the potential to unearth more future stars of our game like David Fifita.”
For event organisers, the injection of more pathways support and a focus on regional representation will make this year’s ABF Murri Carnival a must-do for Queensland communities.
Chair of the ABF Steven Johnson said the great man, Arthur Beetson, would be proud to see the carnival that he helped Tony Currie start, reach the level that it has today.
“The QMC was never started to be just about the game, but more about culture and enriching lives and when we lost Arthur it was important we didn’t lose the affect he had so many people; the QMC does that.”
CEO of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) James William said the Murri Carnival was a major health promotion event in Queensland
“The Murri Carnival achieves significant health and education outcomes, and the requirements for all participants to have a health check and those of school age to maintain a high level of school attendance emphasise the important messaging which underpins the event” Mr William said.
“QAIHC is proud to sponsor the Queensland Murri Carnival and its contribution to closing the gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
League legend and Albany Creek Crushers president Justin Hodges said he couldn’t wait to watch the action unfold later in the year.
“I don’t think I’m being too bold in saying the Queensland Murri Carnival will be bigger and better in 2021,” Hodges said.
“It’s a pleasure to welcome players and spectators from across the state back to Albany Creek Crushers to celebrate the carnival’s 10-year anniversary.
“I’ve been a proud supporter of the event for many years now both as a player and parent.
“This is a fantastic event that encourages education and health through sport, an inspiring message everyone can take home with them.”
Registrations are now open for the ABF QAIHC Queensland Murri Carnival so team coaches and managers are encouraged to ensure all their players are up-to-date with their 715 Health Checks, adults currently enrolled to vote, while youngsters maintain a 90% school attendance rate.
If not, book in for your 715 at your local Aboriginal Medical Service before going online to register for the QMC at www.murrirugbyleague.com.au