Mini Maroons is the weekly round-up of the amazing things kids are doing in community rugby league.
This week we are celebrating a multi-talented young gun from Mackay, a determined debutant from Highfields and the ideal teammate from Brisbane.
Young Brothers Bulldogs junior Tayt Rowe has revealed himself to be somewhat of a triple threat.
Already a dual code representative in Mackay – playing both rugby league and rugby union, Tayt demonstrated his musical talent at a number of ANZAC Day ceremonies in the North Queensland region on Monday.
A member of the Mackay and District Pipe Band, Tayt’s mother Tania Rowe said he did the family proud in his first ANZAC Day march.
“His dad is a piper too but this was his first year at an ANZAC march,” Rowe said.
“They did the Mackay service and led the street march. He then ended up going around all day playing in different towns and different areas. He did a solo (performance) at the day service.
“I’m very proud.”
Tayt, who is in just his third season of rugby league, felt the support from both his Brothers Bulldogs and his rugby union communities, after also completing a big weekend of league representative duties in Rockhampton.
Rowe said he was a determined 11-year-old who worked hard for every opportunity.
“I have a daughter too and their lives are hectic,” Rowe said.
“He’s followed all this up with union trials for Mackay… It is busy but it’s all worth it when you see them doing what they love to do. He works hard for what he wants to achieve. He’s very driven.”
Olivia Pearce made a very memorable rugby league debut over the weekend.
The fearless 10-year-old played her first game for the Highfields and District JRLC on Saturday, April 23, but in an unfortunate turn of events ended up suffering two buckle fractures and a greenstick fracture across both bones in her right arm.
It was a freak accident after a boy fell awkwardly on her arm in a three-on-one tackle, but it was not one that has scared Olivia away from the game.
Her mum, Dana Pearce, said not only was Olivia not deterred, but she was already asking if she could return to training.
“She was more worried about how long she was going to be out for,” Pearce said of her daughter.
“She wasn’t upset at all. She’s just ready to go again. She was sitting in the hospital trying to convince the doctor it wasn’t actually broken… she’s already trying to go to training again.
“Olivia’s had broken bones through skateboarding tricks or trying to climb something she shouldn’t. It’s not her first broken bone and it certainly won’t be our last.
“She genuinely loves her rugby league and will be back as soon as she can.”
Olivia has always been a rugby league fan – supporting the Penrith Panthers in the NRL and Brisbane Broncos in the NRLW – but pushed to take up the game last year after she helped her older sister Maddie at training.
Pearce said Olivia became an “extra body” around the team to help them with tackling practice and other skills and it immediately sparked a love.
She is looking at four weeks on the sideline and Pearce said they would all be excited to get her back, especially after the support from Highfields since the accident.
“The club has been amazing,” Pearce said.
“They’ve been really supportive and checking in on her. They’re really lovely. I think I’ve had a call from pretty much everyone checking in on her but she won’t even bat an eyelash at it.”
QRL South East
Angus Neil only made the switch to rugby league when he was 14, but already the kid with a heart of gold has risen through the ranks to be named Wests Mitchelton’s club captain.
Now 17, Angus is currently sidelined with a hand injury, but it’s his attitude around the grounds and his off-field work that saw him be voted to the position by the club’s committee.
Wests Mitchelton secretary Shoni Pearce said Angus was often seen on most weekends setting up the fields, filling fridges, running water for teams, cleaning the gym, or on the whipper snipper or leaf blower.
She said no task was too big for him – and he was always the first with a hug for anyone who needed it.
“We look at players that help around the club and have good sportsmanship on the field,” Pearce said of the club captain vote.
“He’s just down here all the time helping out. Whenever anyone needs help, he’s there to help out.
“It’s all self-motivated. He only started at under 14s and normally we have someone as club captain that’s been around earlier. But he’s come across from soccer and has put so much in.”
Angus has also been praised for his attitude while he’s been sidelined with a hand injury since July.
It is still unclear when he will be back on the field but Pearce said he was at every training session for his under 18s side and was a great inspiration for his teammates.
“It means so much for them to see him,” she said.
“He runs the tee out and is still so involved. For the boys, it makes them turn up. Angus is coming and he’s not even playing.”