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Annual experience of a lifetime for Outback teams

The annual City Country Cultural Exchange has again been played in Coolum with a new name this year to recognise Geoff Orman who has made a huge difference to those beyond the black stump.

For his ongoing work and support in helping to develop players in the Outback, the annual carnival has been renamed the Glyn Rees / Geoff Orman City Country Cultural Exchange.

Players from the Queensland Outback made the annual 1900 kilometre trip from Mount Isa - making stops along the way to pick up players from Cloncurry, Winton, Longreach, Barcaldine, Blackall, Augathella, Charleville, Cunnamulla, Mitchell and Roma.

Leaving the Isa at 4.30am on the Wednesday morning, they arrived at their accommodation in Coolum at 8.30am on Thursday.

They got off the bus and stretched their legs; before kicking the footy around and later in the day, presented with their rep gear. This is where the players were informed of some of the activities outside of training and their games for the weekend.

All teams attended the Women’s State of Origin played at Sunshine Coast Stadium and  beforehand, the girls teams were given the experience of a lifetime when they travelled to Mooloolaba and met the Maroons... they certainly didn’t miss an opportunity for selfies with their heroes.

Getting a photo with former Origin star Steph Hancock.
Getting a photo with former Origin star Steph Hancock.

Whilst the girls were in Mooloolaba, the boys were provided with lessons on how to surf, generously supplied by Chris from the Coolum Surf School; a real bush to beach experience with all boys being able to stand on the board upon completion of the lesson.

They also received a visit from local Sunshine Coast Falcon players Sam Burns and Tom Rafter, answering questions and mixing with the teams for a general chat.

They also all made the trip to local shopping centres and had team photos taken on the beach. An experience of a lifetime for some, which others take for granted as part of everyday living.

After their late night at the Origin on Friday, the teams started to concentrate on the games ahead on Saturday and Sunday.

The carnival was also attended by teams from Warwick, South Burnett, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

All four Outback teams played above themselves and showed how to have fun on the field whilst still being competitive.

The Under 14 Girls Outback team.
The Under 14 Girls Outback team.

Their sportsmanship was once again a standout from these young outback representatives who were not only representing themselves, but also their outback communities.

Everyone in the outback can be proud of these young ambassadors.

Teams competed in the under 14 and 16 boys with the girls playing in under 14 and 17 age groups.

This is a carnival with a difference as there are no scores kept, nor is there any player of the match awards.

While teams know if they have won, there is no pressure on winning and it also provides a different atmosphere at the carnival with everyone watching the games with a different outlook.

It is also an opportunity for many young local Sunshine Coast referees to officiate at a different level. All the refs were outstanding and a big thanks to Jason Eade and Bruce Schmidt for organising the game officials.

The Queensland Police also attended as part of the ongoing partnership with Queensland Rugby League with officers from Recruiting and Major and Organised Crime (Rural) to talk to the teams and individuals about a possible career in the Service or any other matter they wish to discuss.

Coolum Colts Rugby League again hosted the event - the perfect host for this event and nothing is ever too much trouble for them from cleaning jerseys overnight to meals, time keeping and the list goes on.

A special thanks goes to the Coolum Colts for hosting the carnival in 2021.
A special thanks goes to the Coolum Colts for hosting the carnival in 2021.

It was yet another successful carnival and another experience of a lifetime for the kids from the outback.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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