We always knew the southeast rugby league community would pull together in the aftermath of this year’s floods.
And yet, I am still blown away by just how much everyone has rallied around each other since February – in and outside of our great sport.
It has been a real community effort to get rugby league back up and running.
To me, that just shows what rugby league can do for the community and what the community can do for rugby league.
It’s really pleasing to know that when times are tough, people will come together.
We see it time and time again. The best comes out in our people.
The stage we are at with most flood-affected clubs now is that everyone has been able to get in, clean-up, and assess the damage.
We know now who can and can’t use their facilities.
And while I couldn’t be prouder of the community spirit, the fact remains that some clubs have been hit hard and it’s not good news for everyone.
The main focus at the moment is trying to find temporary homes for our clubs, teams and players.
This process certainly hasn’t been without its challenges and in some instances we have whole clubs needing to find another place.
We’re battling some logistics, like finding alternate locations that have lights for night-time training.
But, while it has been hard work, this is where a lot of the community spirit has come into play.
There have been offers rolling in to help our clubs, and not just from other rugby league grounds.
Schools and other sports have reached out to see if they can help and we have rugby league teams training on soccer grounds in Ipswich for example.
I also have to acknowledge the work being done within our local leagues and by our QRL teams that have made it possible for kids to get back to training. They have really done the hard yards.
It’s the community rallying together to make rugby league happen.
It’s so great to see and helps to ease that pressure.
The funny thing is, in our preparation for the season, we were doing contingency plans for COVID.
Everything seemed ready for that but here we are now doing contingency planning for our clubs to be able to train after the floods.
That’s been an early surprise in the year. But once everyone is sorted, the next step is focusing on the season to come.
We are full steam ahead, and it makes me really happy to say that.
Yes, the preparation is in a bit of disarray but there shouldn’t be any delays, which is great.
There are grading rounds coming up and some trials have already been underway.
Rugby League Ipswich juniors will start their seasons from Saturday, March 19 while the BRL and RLGC will kick off some of their senior competitions by March 26.
Footy is back.
We will also celebrate with two Play Something Unreal Festivals.
There will be one at Suncorp Stadium on March 27 and another at Cbus Super Stadium on March 31.
This will help people who haven’t tried rugby league yet to have an experience within our game and hopefully they will love it and want to play some more.
It just makes it even better it’s at two major stadiums - kids all dream to play at those venues so to get that experience I think is invaluable in building a connection to the game.
There’s that old saying: ‘if you can see it, you can be it’.
Well, here’s a great opportunity for those young folks to be what they see.
Upcoming events in the southeast
|Mar 19||Under 14 girls grading - central venue||Parkwood|
|Mar 19-20||Rugby League Ipswich under 6s to under 12s kick off||Ipswich|
|Mar 26||Under 16 girls grading - central venue||Wynnum|
|Mar 26-27||BRL A-grade, reserves and under 20s seasons kick off||Brisbane|
|Mar 26-27||RLGC seniors competitions kick off||Gold Coast|
|Mar 27||Play Something Unreal Festival||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane|
|Mar 31||Play Something Unreal Festival||Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast|
|Apr 2||Under 12 girls grading - central venue||Logan|
|Apr 2||SEQW grading - central venue||TBC|
|Apr 2-3||Rugby League Ipswich seniors competitions kick off||Ipswich|