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Community Corner: New leagues for Central region

One of the top priorities for the Central region this year was to establish a women’s competition in the Wide Bay area.

As of May 14, that goal will become a reality.

The Wide Bay women’s competition will kick off next month, as well as a girls’ under 14s and an under 17s league.

It’s the first year we’ve put this together and it’s come about through a lot of hard work by many people.

The women’s game used to be really strong in Bundaberg, but dropped off about three years ago.

What we found is that the people who pushed to have these competitions originally and made them work had to move on and it fell away.

We knew we needed to regroup and find another way to get the women and girls interested.

We needed to find the right people to drive the competitions again and that’s exactly what’s happened - the committee we assembled has driven it and it’s really great to see it come to fruition.

Queensland Rugby League Wide Bay league and club coordinator Kym McIntosh, Terri Weatherley (who is part of the Central Region Executive Committee and her portfolio is female rugby league) and QRL Wide Bay area manager Bryce Holdsworth have been key in organising the committee who have made this happen.

The focus on this started last year and there were several meetings initially held just to gauge interest.

Now Wide Bay joins Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Sunshine Coast and Central Highlands in having women’s competitions in the Central region.

The Wide Bay women’s league will have four teams: Central Burnett, South Burnett, Bundaberg and Fraser Coast.

The under 14s have South Burnett, Tannum Sands, Bundaberg and Fraser Coast.

The under 17s meanwhile are struggling a little bit and are definitely still on the lookout for players, but will have teams from Bundaberg, Fraser Coast and a Barbarians team, combining girls from different areas.

Overall, female participation in the Central region is already up 30.7 per cent on last year.

And in the BMD Premiership we see the Central Queensland Capras sitting proudly at the top of the ladder after three rounds.

The men’s team are also top of the Hostplus Cup ladder, so footy in the region is thriving.

While it’s only early days for both competitions, it’s worth celebrating.

We will also get to see a Wide Bay women’s team in this year’s 47th Battalion, which is exciting to see after Bundaberg missed last season’s carnival.

All planning is in full swing for the 47th Battalion, which is now just two weeks away.

You can feel the excitement through the leagues and the preparations are coming together for our eight men’s teams and six women’s teams.

There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes with organising accommodation, meals, transport and then of course, the actual carnival, but QRL’s Gladstone league and club coordinator Amanda Ingham has led that and has done a mighty job.

Amanda Pearce is the administration officer for Central Region and Amanda Ohl is the area manager for Central Queensland and both also assist greatly in helping events come together in the region.

We’ve already had a number of carnivals this year, including the Matt Scott under 13s carnival at Longreach, the Walkers Weekend under 13s carnival in Toowoomba – which had record numbers – and the Darren Lockyer carnival for under 10s and under 12s in Roma.

It’s great to see how much rugby league just continues to go from strength to strength and the support we’ve had so far.

Now I can only hope we see just as much support at the 47th Battalion on April 30 and May 1.

Main image: 2021 women's champions in the 47th Battalion, the Western Mustangs.

Date Event Place
Apr 22-24 Toowoomba junior season starts     Toowoomba
Apr 22-24 Warwick and District junior season starts Warwick
Apr 22-24 Central West senior season starts Central West
Apr 22-24 Sunshine Coast under 6s to under 13s start         Sunshine Coast
Apr 23 South Burnett senior season starts South Burnett
Apr 23 Central Burnett senior season starts Central Burnett
Apr 30 Kirk Reynoldson Cup   Wandoan
Apr 30 – May 1  47th Battalion Gladstone
Apr 30 – May 1  Bundaberg junior season starts  Bundaberg
May 1 Merktelow Challenge                Pittsworth
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