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Mini Maroons: Carnarvon, Tully and Sunnybank have plenty to celebrate

Mini Maroons is the weekly round-up of the amazing things kids are doing in community rugby league.

This week we are celebrating a proud central Queensland junior rugby league club, a young official excelling and an Under 12 team from Tully digging deep without subs. 

QRL Central

Carnarvon Cubs Junior Rugby League Club certainly stood out during Roma's Easter in the Country.

The small country club is one that has experienced great tragedy during the past few years, with previous president Nick Cameron losing 10-year-old son Jack in a tragic vehicle rollover on a private property in 2020. 

Current president Bruce Proud said the club was, as a result, much tighter than a usual club and it was always good to celebrate the Carnarvon Cubs and the wider rugby league community.

The Carnarvon Cubs take part in Roma's Easter in the Country.
The Carnarvon Cubs take part in Roma's Easter in the Country.

"It's about parading the club, but also doing the community thing," Proud said.

"If nobody did it, it wouldn't happen. The kids love it."

A troupe of about 25 children were on the back of sponsor Corbet's Group's truck, which had been decorated by some proud local families, for the epic Easter parade on Saturday. 

Proud said it was the third year the club, which has about 150 players, had been involved and it was "a bit of fun", as always.

"We had a lot of input from families this year, which was good," Proud said.

Proud said the club won the junior category the two other years they were involved, injecting about $3500 into the club.

Proud said it had been a big few weeks for all involved, with the Darren Lockyer Shield the weekend before.

"It's all for the love of it," Proud said.

QRL South East

It’s been a whirlwind year for 16-year-old referee Madi Fields.

It was only last year that Madi picked up the whistle for the first time, after undergoing a refereeing course through Stretton State College’s rugby league program.

While she realised playing rugby league wasn’t for her, she did develop an interest in officiating.

Twelve months on and Fields was selected to showcase her skills as the referee in the curtain raiser to the NRLW grand final in Redcliffe.

Madi Fields. Photo: Stephen Fields
Madi Fields. Photo: Stephen Fields

It’s been a strong rise through the ranks but it was a moment that left Madi very proud.

“We jumped at the chance,” Madi’s father Stephen Fields said.

“She was very excited… I’m very proud. I can see where women in rugby league are going so I think it’s excellent that they’re pushing these girls through these pathways and helping them out.

“Looking at Belinda Sharpe, she is touch judging NRL games now so there’s definitely a progression for Madi to take or follow if she’s keen.

“Madi told me she’s now watching rugby league games and looking at the refs more than the play. She’s very excited about it all.”

Madi started last year refereeing at Souths Sunnybank – where her dad coaches - starting with the under 6s to under 8s.

Madi refereeing in the NRLW grand final curtain raiser.
Madi refereeing in the NRLW grand final curtain raiser.

She also helped out at Acacia Ridge throughout the 2021 season and went onto run the line in a few finals matches for the older junior levels.

She was identified by BRL Referee mentor Marc Sauvage - who helped her progress to the curtain raiser match - and also won the Rookie of the Year for refereeing in her zone last year.

Now she has her eye set on bigger things in 2022.

“She’s really enjoying it,” Fields said.

“She wants to get into the higher grades a bit more this year – the under 11s, 12s, 13s. She’s very interested in that and I think she’s pencilled in for a few of those games this year.”

QRL North

The Tully Tigers Under 12 team put in a mighty effort at the Shane Muspratt Cup after last minute illness and injuries left them without any substitute players for seven games. 

In a show of true sportsmanship and perseverance, the 13 young men travelled to Ayr knowing they would all have to play every single minute of every game – and team manager Sharon Chappel said they did so with pride.

The Tully Tigers Under 12s
The Tully Tigers Under 12s

The club already had an uphill battle in getting a full team to the carnival – Chappel said they had to recruit players from their under 11s side and were also given four kids from the Malanda team, who had to withdraw from the Cup.

But just days out from going a few hits came their way.

“We had two kids pull out because their parents couldn’t take them, someone else broke a bone and another had a concussion,” Chappel said.

“Then the day before we left, another kid got COVID. We had 13 players.

“We’d done all the fundraising… the boys had been training for three months prior. We didn’t have a coach either so the under 14s coach, Jono Taylor, had been working with both teams for months.

“We realised the show had to go on.”

The team embarked on the three-hour trip, which was a highlight in itself for many of the kids who had never left their small town of Tully before.

Chappel said the kids pushed their way through the Cup and were treated to a night of bowling and dinner out.

While it wasn’t easy – even playing their final game with just 12 players due to injury - the boys united and Chappel said they left with very fond memories of the Shane Muspratt Cup.

Lucian Di Carlo and Malanda player Kye Pease were even selected in the merit team for their efforts.

“When they go away and put on that black and orange jersey, you see how proud they are to be part of something big,” Chappel said.

“Jono was amazing. He was all about the team spirit and that we work as a team, no one is an individual, we’re all in this together. He promoted excellent sportsmanship the whole time.

“We had to dig deep to get to the end... but giving up was never an option for our team.

“To go to a different town, go bowling, go out for dinner, that in itself was a whole new experience for a lot of these boys. I hope it’s something that stays with them.

"Our club's focus is around being mates for life and this sums up the feeling among our team after the weekend away together."

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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