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Community Corner: 'I want the north to be proud'

Any time a footballer from north Queensland pulls on a jumper – from Mackay across to Mt Isa and up to the Torres Strait - I want them to be proud.

I want them to be proud of who are they, the region they are representing and the people they are playing for.

In 2022, the QRL’s northern team and myself have a number of priorities.

We want to build confidence and capability in our volunteers, streamline our processes and procedures across all competitions, provide opportunities for all who want to play rugby league – particularly in the remote and regional areas,  and ensure we have a big calendar of events.

But we also want to celebrate our region and instil pride in our rugby league community, far and wide.

For me, that all kicks off with a big bang with Mackay’s City versus Country matches on Friday, March 11.

All the Mackay teams for 2022.
All the Mackay teams for 2022.

Not only do these men and women get to represent their local clubs and the area they are from, but this match starts to turn our attention towards the prestigious Foley Shield.

The best players from across Rugby League Mackay and District will have a chance to put their name forward to be selected in the final team for the Shield and to proudly represent the city.

I only joined the QRL last November, but I’ve worked in rugby league a long time and I’m well aware of the long standing history of the Foley Shield.

I’m also aware that over the years the carnival has fallen out of the limelight a bit as the Hostplus Cup has gone from strength to strength.

But this is why I want all north Queenslanders to band together.

The Foley Shield should be the pinnacle of community rugby league in our region.

It’s always nice for people to represent their club and their badge. But to be able to do so should mean something to our players – to represent your community should have an impact.

The Foley Shield gives our players a chance to go away and not only be part of the broader Far North Queensland community, but to shine a light on their own cities and the talent that exists there.

It starts with Mackay. The Mackay teams for Foley Shield will be selected from these City versus Country matches. Townsville and Cairns will follow with selection based off their local A grade competitions.

Across all three cities, and heading into April’s Foley Shield, we will be showcasing our best footy players and so a huge emphasis should be placed upon what it means to represent your badge.

For our players, it’s an also an opportunity for those who might be on the cusp of their Hostplus Cup team or the North Queensland Gold Stars. This is their chance to prove they have the talent and desire to play at that next level.

Not to mention, what it will mean once we have our victorious team from the Foley Shield.

Cairns competing in last year's Foley Shield.
Cairns competing in last year's Foley Shield.

Whether it’s Cairns, Townsville or Mackay, that team will head south to stake their claim as the best A grade team in all of Queensland, taking on representatives from the QRL Central and QRL South East regions.

We were just pipped at the post in our semi-final showdown last year – literally.

With just two minutes on the clock, Mackay was leading 24-22 over Toowoomba, when they took an intercept and ran nearly the entire length of the field to snatch the win.

It still burns deeply.

And that’s why it matters every time someone pulls on a jersey to represent our region – whether it’s for Mackay City or Country on March 11 or as part of the Townsville women’s team or the Cairns Foley Shield side, it all matters.

I can’t wait.

Mackay Festival of Rugby League


Friday, March 11, 4pm-6pm


Mackay Junior Rugby League Grounds


Junior clinics, league tag, prizes, merchandise and more ahead of the RLMD City v Country match.

Entry is free. Register here.

Rugby League Mackay and District City v Country


Friday, March 11

Mackay Women’s Possibles v Mackay Women’s Probables – 6pm

Mackay Men’s City v Mackay Men’s Country – 7.30pm


Mackay Junior Rugby League Grounds


$5 after 5.30pm

Squad lists

Women's Possibles

1. Tiomee Ramsamy (Carltons), 2. Suyen Kawatt (Miners), 3. Layne Dobbie (Miners), 4. Austene Rebetzke (Sarina), 5. Allanah Phineasa (Miners), 6. Alycia Taylor-Hannson (Carltons), 7. Jess Taylor (Miners), 8. Jacinta Bobongie (Sarina), 9. Cass Adlam (Brothers), 10. Deb Barchard (Carltons), 11. Charlie Jackson (Brothers), 12. Macey Finlay (Sarina), 13. Nea Robinson (Miners), 14. Olivia Hamilton (Miners), 15. Rebecca Popperwell (Sarina), 16. Sophie Stringer (Carltons), 17. Marcella Campbells (Sarina), 18. Kerryn Wake (Miners), 19. TBA

Women's Probables

1. Keegan Irelandes (Brothers), 2. Jenna McDonald (Magpies), 3. Eva Ketchell (Carltons), 4. Zoe Aitken (Brothers), 5. Lawren Samson (Magpies), 6. Adele Ginns (Magpies), 7. Imogen Healy (Brothers), 8. Vanique Malayta (Brothers), 9. Naomi Temby (Carltons), 10. Azmin Brice (Magpies), 11. Tina Hancock (Magpies), 12. Kaiya Barba (Carltons), 13. Xanthe Topping (Carltons), 14. Seba Bourne (Sarina), 15. Tamika Brecknell (Brothers), 16. Jess Galea (Brothers), 17. Ella Millen (Carltons), 18. Lucy Bradford (Sarina), 19. TBA

Men's City

1. Matt Skaife (Brothers), 2. Hayden Pace (Magpies), 3. Tai Namaibai (Souths), 4. Brett Kelly (Carltons/Cutters), 5. Tom Sly (Magpies/Cutters), 6. Schae Mawer (Carltons), 7. Beau Dixon (Carltons), 8. Hemi Mullen (Souths), 9. Clint Broomham (Brothers), 10. Ivan Petelo (Carltons), 11. Isaiah Cooper-Tetevano (Magpies), 12. Tate Brodel (Souths), 13. Tyler Gardiner (Magpies), 14. Kyle Barnwell (Carltons), 15. Shaun Edwards (Magpies), 16. Corey McGannon (Carltons), 17. Jovan Pienaar (Brothers), 18. Chris Gesch (Magpies)

Men's Country

1. Jake Thornton (Wests), 2. Jayden O'Shannessy (Sarina), 3. Brett Coutts (Moranbah), 4. Maika Tudravu (Sarina), 5. Tyler Holmes (Wests/Cutters), 6. Jake Hawkins (Sarina/Cutters), 7. Shan Rupapere (Moranbah), 8. Luke Ingram (Wests/Cutters), 9. Mitch Fogarty (Sarina/Cutters), 10. Isaac Richardson (Whitsunday), 11. Harry Black (Sarina), 12. Kellen Jenner (Wests), 13. Jye Andersen (Sarina), 14. Kel Sheather (Whitsunday), 15. Matt Kennedy (Whitsunday), 16. Ben Buchholz (Sarina), 17. Nick Vaalepu (Moranbah), 18. Mitch Barron (Moranbah)

Upcoming events in the north

Date Event Place
Mar 12 Andrew Beazley Memorial Trophy Atherton
Mar 12 FNQ Junior Clusters Ravenshoe/Innisfail/Redlynch
Mar 12 Townsville JRL Cluster Townsville
Mar 19 Peter Keogh Shield Mackay
Mar 25-26 Townsville Field of Dreams Townsville
Mar 26 FNQ CDRL senior season starts Cairns
Mar 27 Townsville Girls Cluster Townsville


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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