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Community Corner: 'Rugby league is the lifeblood of our towns'

To me, Central is the region that never gives up.

You can see it in our people and in our footy.

While some of our juniors have already been back on the rugby league fields for some time now, a couple of our senior competitions will kick off this weekend in what will no doubt be another big season.

For all the teams across the region, after all the preparation they have done through the off-season, I have no doubt they’ll be looking forward to ripping in.

This year the region – which covers an area greater than that of New South Wales – will consist of 22 leagues.

This leads to a lot of work for our staff, and we’re balancing some new challenges for the season ahead, but we all work together to ensure no one misses out.

One significant change we will see is with Gladstone.

Gladstone this year couldn’t get the minimum of four teams needed for their own competition, so they have joined forces with Rockhampton Rugby League and three of their clubs will play under that league.

Despite the change in league numbers, the registrations are still quite strong in the majority of areas and it just goes to show how we have to be flexible and think on our feet all the time to make sure the game continues and remains a meaningful part of people’s lives.

A game between the Highfields Eagles and Gatton Hawks. Photo: Wyatt Cook-Revell
A game between the Highfields Eagles and Gatton Hawks. Photo: Wyatt Cook-Revell

I’m sure one day we will see that Gladstone competition strengthen once again. But this is the nature of many places within the Central region.

We’re talking about an area that covers the harshness of the Outback, to small cropping towns, large cattle and sheep industries, coal mining and coastal communities.

With that amount of diversity, some challenges are bound to arise.

Gladstone, being an industrial city, experiences changes to the number of players available on a yearly basis.

The Central Highlands is another area that experiences this, thanks to the coal mining industry.

You’re talking about players who do shift work at all kinds of hours.

They can miss training all week but play the game on the weekend or train all week and miss the game.

You never know what you’re going to get week to week.

We’re seeing it in the revived Central Highlands women’s competition too.

They’re working very hard to get that up and running and they do believe they have the numbers of women out there to form four sides.

Our fingers are crossed that they get back to the strength they’ve had in the past with four or five women’s teams.

Central staff are also working with a new club out of Aura on the Sunshine Coast, where the population is tipped to explode, plus reforming clubs such as Pomona-Cooran, the Blackbutt Timber Towners, the Central Burnett juniors and Wide Bay senior women’s, under 17s and under 14s competitions.

It has been both challenging and rewarding.

But it’s all just part of our lives – we have to keep being flexible and ensure we keep the games going.

While there can be that unpredictability, rugby league is the lifeblood of our towns and cities.

As we all know, you can’t just work all your life.

Most people need an outlet, and for many Queenslanders, that outlet is rugby league.

Because the thing is, if we can ensure they have their game of football, we see quite quickly how passionate they are about it.

Central Highlands may have to deal with funny work hours and mixed availability, but there is no more fierce competition than the one they have.

Despite all the challenges, they always come together, put on a good show and you can see it means a lot.

Upcoming events in the central region

Date Event Place
Mar 26 Central Highlands women’s season start Central Highlands
Mar 26 Bundaberg senior seasons start Bundaberg
Apr 1 Central Highlands men’s season start Central Highlands
Apr 1-3 Toowoomba senior seasons start Toowoomba
Apr 1-3 Rockhampton senior seasons start Rockhampton
Apr 2 Sunshine Coast senior seasons start Sunshine Coast
Apr 2-3 Darren Lockyer Shield Roma
Apr 2-3 Walker Weekend Toowoomba
Apr 8-10 Northern Districts senior seasons start   Northern Districts
Apr 8-10 Roma and District senior seasons start Roma
Apr 9-10 Kody House Challenge Tannum Sands


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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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