We got to witness a real changing of the guard at this year’s 47th Battalion carnival.
Rockhampton and Bundaberg have played third and fourth fiddle to Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba in the men’s draw for the past four or five years.
But as of the weekend just gone, that’s no longer the case.
Not only did we crown a new winner, but Rocky and Bundy both defeated the two competition favourites in the semi-final to go through to the decider.
While Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba certainly didn’t make it easy for them, it was exciting to see Rockhampton come through and play their best football in the grand final to win their first ever 47th Battalion trophy.
With the women, it was the Toowoomba Clydesdales who were once again dominant. They’re a very strong side – just too powerful and thoroughly deserved to be winners.
The competition across the women’s draw all weekend was great to see and reflected how strong Central Queensland’s female participation numbers are.
What I’d love to see moving forward is the women added to the XXXX League Championship state series.
It would be very interesting to see how our Toowoomba team, for example, would fare against a Mackay or Brisbane side.
Overall, it was another great year at the 47th Battalion.
But the hard work is far from done.
Obviously now Rockhampton progress to the XXXX League Championship semi-final against Townsville, and it is our region that will play host to that game at Rockhampton’s Browne Park.
It will take place on June 18 and already our team is hard at work on pulling that one together.
I’ve also been in Bundaberg and Maryborough this week for the Auswide Bank Regional Roadshow – with Gympie another stop, which is a good opportunity to catch up with the leagues and raise some funds for the leagues in our region.
We also have our RISE registrations open at the moment and while numbers are strong in some areas, we still have spots up for grabs.
Outside of that, next week the Queensland Rugby League Outback program kicks off, with the junior muster being held in Barcaldine on May 14.
Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons star Steph Hancock is coming out for that and she’s very popular, especially with the young females in the area. They all bounce up to her and treat her like they’ve known her for years.
The junior muster is one of my favourite events of the year.
It’s not just about footy, but education sessions with police – including advice and recruitment opportunities from Detective Senior Sergeant Warren Baker from the Major and Organised Crime Squad (Rural) and his team – and QPS Indigenous recruitment officer Adrian Coolwell from the First Nations and Multicultural Unit, as well as wellbeing conversations with our Central wellbeing operations manager, Ryan Charles.
It’s much more than just a carnival.
From there, our Queensland Outback junior squads will head to Coolum over the June and July school holidays for the Glynn Rees/Geoff Orman Cultural Exchange Carnival. This is for the players who don’t normally make representative sides or get to go away much.
The kids that come from Mt Isa, for example, take a 26-hour bus trip to get there but it’s worth it once they arrive.
Some of them have never even seen the beach before. For others, the Sunshine Plaza at Maroochydore is the biggest shopping centre they’ve ever seen.
In the past we’ve taken them to Brisbane Broncos games or the women’s State of Origin match.
We look to do something different every year and give them that experience.
There are no awards for winning competitions, or acknowledgements for best players. It’s all about just enjoying the great game of rugby league.
Main image: The dominant Toowoomba Clydesdales women's team in action at the 47th Battalion. Photo: Zain Mohammed/QRL
Upcoming events in Central region
|May 14||Outback junior muster||Barcaldine|
|May 20-22||Rockhampton JRL finals begin||Rockhampton|