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Wellbeing Wednesday: Building a true-blue team

It is basic knowledge that rugby league is a team sport - you can't win without your team mates.

But to actually unite a team, to build respect and camaraderie and to have players that look out for each other is often easier said than done.

For the Beaudesert Kingfishers, strengthening those bonds throughout their entire club is a major focus every season.

It’s not just about getting the best out of their players and teams for their performances on the field, but as a wellbeing practice, to ensure that their kids always have someone on their side.

They build these connections through various ways, from something as simple as a beachside barbeque to team-specific activities.

At the start of April, the under 16s team climbed Mount Maroon – in Queensland’s southeast – together, as a test of their determination, persistence and mateship.

The under 15s undergo challenges at Emu Gully.
The under 15s undergo challenges at Emu Gully.

And a week later, the under 15s went to the Emu Gully Adventure Education Group in Helidon Spa, where they were pushed through a number of challenges, which could only be achieved if they truly worked together as a team.

Beaudesert Kingfishers president and under 15s coach Scott Bannan said phones were banned and the kids were tested, but they came out of the experience stronger than ever.

“It throws the boys in the deep end,” Bannan said.

“They need to work together as a team unit and through that they see how much easier it is when they work together.

“Even beyond the activities they had to clean their own rooms, clean toilets, mop the floors, put the dishes away.

“One super cool challenge was the Kokoda Track. A player pretends he’s injured on a stretcher and you have to have at least eight people to carry the stretcher.

“There’s massive hills and mud walks they go through and they're passing the stretcher around … you can’t let that patient hit the ground.

“My boys are really tight knit anyway, but they loved it.

“There’s a couple of new boys who have come to us this year so everyone just loved the teamwork and getting to know each other and the humour and finding out everyone’s strengths and weaknesses  … it all means something.

“They couldn’t have their phones either until they finished, so they were playing games together and you could hear them laughing together.”

Bannan said the club do special activities like this across all age groups, with the coaches able to decide how to help their teams build those bonds.

The Kingfishers have had a focus on wellbeing for a long time for their players and were one of the first to include mental health first aid training among their coaches, through Nathan St Ledger.

And the focus on united teams comes from the idea that if one kid within the club is struggling, then they have a whole group of other kids looking out for them.

“As a club we really push the fact that it’s more than just football,” Bannan said.

“There is so much pressure on the kids. Life is different these days with social media … social media can be cruel and so can kids.

“The awareness of having the whole team looking out for each other is really important … if a kid is a bit quiet or a bit off one day, then the other kids will pick up on it pretty quickly and go and sit with them, and chat with them.

“What we try to do is make sure this is the best time of their lives and they get through that by hanging out with their mates and their team.”

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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