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Community Corner: North's time to RISE

A great passion of mine when it comes to rugby league is ensuring we take a holistic approach to our game and especially to our players.

Here in the North, we always want to make sure the work we are doing not only encompasses and highlights the physical attributes and skills of our players, but it makes them better people within our community as well.

It’s really important to us to ensure our players’ wellbeing and that their ability to look after themselves first and foremost is on point.

At the end of the day, we won’t be able to play rugby league forever.

So, it’s not just about helping develop great players, but aiding in creating the next generation of great people. That’s exciting.

And that is why I’m really keen to get started on this year’s Queensland Rugby League RISE player development program.

In partnership with the NRL, the program not only provides greater pathways and access to coaching and development, but it aims to build “lifelong participants” of our great game.

Up here in North Queensland, we will have four programs run across Mount Isa, Mackay, Cairns and Townsville this year, plus the exciting addition of a camp in Bamaga.

Coaching preparations underway for this year's RISE player development program. Photo: Scott Radford-Chisholm/QRL
Coaching preparations underway for this year's RISE player development program. Photo: Scott Radford-Chisholm/QRL

It’s all set to kick off at the end of May. Registrations are already open and we’ve already held our RISE coaching induction, which ran in conjunction with the Foley Shield.

We had a lot of high calibre coaches there on the day, including Jim Wilson (Mackay head coach), Todd Wilson (Townsville head coach), Nigel Tremain (Mount Isa head coach), and former North Queensland Cowboys and Queensland Maroons forward John Buttigieg (Cairns head coach).

We had 50 coaches from around North Queensland come in and be inducted into the RISE program and they were fortunate enough to have Neil Henry and Tahnee Norris in attendance to take them through our program and what it entails.

We have a lot of great, aspirational kids in that 13 to 15 years age group, and I can’t wait to see what they do with this RISE program.

The other thing it does is it also nurtures that understanding within our players of different ways they can be involved in rugby league.

Whether they partake in a refereeing course or a LeagueSafe trainer course, we’re exposing them to different facets of the game.

Who knows? Maybe one day one of these kids will pick up the whistle or even become a coach of a juniors team down the track.

We’re about establishing better communities and a better game overall.

And, as I touched on above, an exciting addition this year is that there will be a camp in Bamaga for those kids in remote areas.

Jim Wilson and Tahnee Norris. Photo: Scott Radford-Chisholm/QRL
Jim Wilson and Tahnee Norris. Photo: Scott Radford-Chisholm/QRL

While we have the program running in those four areas of Mount Isa, Cairns, Mackay and Townsville, we also need to acknowledge that North Queensland is very diverse and we must always do what we can to reach our people in those areas.

So, this year, participants from the Torres Strait Islands, as well as the Western Cape and those that are situated in Bamaga, will get to take part in a camp that covers a lot of those RISE values and principles.

This all accumulates with a carnival in Townsville in September.

Ensuring all the participants have fully engaged with the program and what it entails, these aspirational players have the opportunity to come in and partake in this carnival.

It’s definitely not too late to register, not too late to throw your hat in the ring… it’s not too late to start finding our next Queensland Maroons.

Elsewhere up North, I am excited to say that next weekend – from the May 18 to May 22 – I will head out to Weipa to see the kick-off of the Western Cape seniors competition.

We have five teams taking part - Mapoon, Lockhart River, Weipa, Napranum and Aurukun – and it’s the first time the competition has been played in two years after a COVID-enforced hiatus.

It’s really exciting for our remote areas, and our community champions in these areas deserve a special mention as they’ve worked so hard to get community rugby league back up and running.

Main image: North Queensland's coaching induction program for RISE. Photo: Scott Radford-Chisholm/QRL

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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