People often talk about community rugby league and how special it is and after the Australia Day awards announcements across the Outback, it's easy to understand why the terms 'community' and 'rugby league' are used in the same sentence.
There are a lot of volunteers out in the community who have children playing, or husbands or wives - as well as many who do not have any family playing at all, but still put their hand up to help - just because they love rugby league, the community and the lifelong friendships that can be built.
How many of us have friends we would have never met if it wasn’t for rugby league?
Rugby league volunteers don’t do all of their hard work for recognition, they do it just for the love of it, but when they are recognised by their community, it should be announced proudly everywhere.
Below is a list of a few of these volunteers and friends who are much valued members of the wider rugby league family.
Australia Day awards
Longreach Regional Council
- Citizen of the Year – Ben Palmer – Central West Junior Rugby League vice-president, Longreach Junior Rugby League president, coach of any age group who needs one, Queensland Outback representative coach
- Junior Citizen of the Year – Macen Palmer (Ben Palmer’s son) - Longreach Junior Rugby League
- Senior Sporting Achievement - Nadia Hoad - president of Longreach / Ilfracombe Rugby League president and Queensland Outback Women’s representative player
- Community Volunteer of the Year - Jo Winkleman, former president and secretary of Longreach Junior Rugby League, sports trainer for Central West Juniors, Southern Outback junior teams
- Sporting Team of the Year - Longreach Ilfracombe Rugby League – 2021 Central West premiers
Ben Palmer 'just doesn’t stop’
Murweh Shire Council
- Community Event of the Year Award - Adrian Vowles Cup
- Junior Sports Award – Paddy Short, Charleville Junior Rugby League and representative player
- Senior Sports Award - Andrew Short (Paddy Short’s dad), local junior rugby league coach and volunteer
Cloncurry Shire Council
- Citizen of the Year – Chris Waters Long time rugby league volunteer in Cloncurry and Queensland Outback junior and senior teams
- Community Event of the Year – Arthur Beetson Foundation Queensland Outback Junior Carnival
- Dave Watt Memorial Junior Sports Person – Ruby King, Queensland Outback Under 14s Girls representative
- Seniors Sports Award – Samantha Bond – inaugural Queensland Outback Women’s representative
Barcaldine Regional Council
- Certificate of Recognition – Kevin Wiltshire, Alpha Brumbies Rugby League and Harrison Miller Barcaldine Junior Rugby League