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Community Corner: North approaching best time of year

One of our most exciting times of year has arrived – and I’m not talking about State of Origin.

This Saturday will mark the second annual All Abilities Carnival, an exciting showdown between the Mackay Cutters and Townsville Blackhawks at Townsville’s Jack Manski Oval.

The All Abilities Carnival was launched last year with great success – the product of some really hard work in our region.

Those who are invested in this space continually talk about how it’s the most rewarding initiative that our game drives.

The smiles, laughs and excitement on the faces of our girls and guys of all ages, sizes and abilities, is so heart-warming to see, and you can really feel the buzz already.

I know the staff involved, their phones have been running hot for weeks with participants asking about the what, where, when, who, why and how of it all.

But they’re just so excited.

Blackhawks All Abilities v Townsville All Stars at the Foley Shield in April. Photo: Scott Radford-Chisholm/QRL
Blackhawks All Abilities v Townsville All Stars at the Foley Shield in April. Photo: Scott Radford-Chisholm/QRL

The concept for the All Abilities Carnival comes off the back of Mackay running an All Abilities competition in the region for five years while Townsville is now in its third year.

With the Cutters and Blackhawks All Abilities sides selected from these competitions, this is almost like a representative opportunity for the people of both areas – it provides them further opportunity to experience all the elements of a carnival.

They get to play in front of a crowd as a curtain raiser to the Hostplus Cup clash between Mackay and Townsville and act as the guard of honour for those sides. They will stay in a camp environment, receive medals, and participate in a mini-Olympics.

The Cutters and Blackhawks also throw their full support behind the initiative and supply full kits to these players, so they get the chance to look just like our Cup teams.

It’s an aspect the players really love, and one we’re extremely grateful for.

Here in the North, we really strongly believe in offering experiences such as these to all people within our game, tying into our values of diversity and inclusion.

It’s also exciting for me to share the news that the North Queensland Cowboys have invited both teams back to Townsville in August to participate in a curtain raiser to one of their NRL matches.

What an opportunity for them.

Elsewhere in our region at the moment, our staff have been busy running women and girls ID clinics across Western Cape, the Gulf, Northern Peninsula Area and Thursday Island.

These clinics will help us select players for our upcoming North Queensland United women’s and under 17s girls’ teams, with the under 17s to take part in the North Queensland Championships in July.

Due to the women not having fully fledged competitions in these areas, the North Queensland United team is chosen off the back of these selection clinics and they will get the opportunity to travel to Roma in July alongside their male counterparts to play against the Queensland Outback.

And from our seniors down to our juniors, Cooktown Rugby League had a very exciting weekend to round out May, with the Crocs travelling down to Mossman last weekend to participate in a cluster day with the Mossman Sharks.

Cooktown v Yarrabah in the under 7s. Photo: Jacynta Hunt/QRL
Cooktown v Yarrabah in the under 7s. Photo: Jacynta Hunt/QRL

We had girls and boys who have never experienced rugby league before take up a footy and join in on the greatest game of all.

We love to see it.

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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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