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Community Corner: Jam-packed July for the North

July is the time of year when footy fans in the North really get their fix of the game.

Rugby league is at an all-time high throughout our region – it’s truly just astronomical.

We have all our community competitions still running – with Mt Isa juniors and seniors playing their finals this weekend – plus our Hostplus Cup teams battling for finals spots, the XXXX League Championship final on the horizon, and the carnival circus has well and truly come to town.

But perhaps no weekend is bigger than that of July 23-24.

Hold on to your hats North Queenslanders, we’re set for an exciting few days.

Starting on Saturday, July 23, we have our Under 17 Girls North Queensland Championships in Townsville, which will see teams from Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Cape York and the Torres Strait battle it out over two days to vie for selection in the Queensland Country team.

It’s such an exciting time for this age group to be in rugby league. Just on Tuesday night, I was fortunate enough to go to the jersey presentation for the inaugural under 18 Queensland Schoolgirls team.

These up-and-comers played in the curtain raiser before the men’s State of Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday, which was a huge opportunity for them.

Highlights: Schoolgirls interstate match

The Under 17 carnival is also a big chance for this age group to put themselves forward for a Queensland jersey and I cannot wait to see the talent there next weekend.

As well as this tournament, we also have our North Queensland United men’s and women’s teams coming up against Queensland Outback on Sunday, July 24.

Part of the Hostplus Cup’s 'Activate Queensland!' Country Week round, this will be a momentous occasion for our two sides, which sees all our remote areas from the Western Cape, Northern Peninsula Area, Torres Strait and the Three Rivers competition represented.

Their selection is based off their efforts in local competitions, which they re-established in 2022 after COVID-19.

The guys and girls will go into a camp situation on Thursday, July 21, in Cairns where they will have a couple of training runs, do a value share, and basically experience everything about what it is like to be in a representative team environment.

Our NQ United teams are spearheaded up by former Queensland Maroon John Buttigieg, who oversees both teams and their coaching staff, and has a real passion for driving people and giving them experience in these areas.

The matches will be played in Roma – and livestreamed on - ahead of the Norths Devils and Burleigh Bears Hostplus Cup clash and it will give our people exposure to the next level.

As we always say, you never know who is watching. We may have the next Selwyn Cobbo up in these areas.

The 'Activate Queensland!' Country Week round will also come to the North, with games scheduled on Thursday Island and in Ayr and Sarina.

Country Week is of such significance and importance to our regional areas. It gives our people a real sense of understanding and connection to these high-level games, and the amount of work done in the lead up is a celebration of the whole week.

We have clinics, coaching updates, opportunities to gain more match officials - it’s a really important week for QRL and game development staff and one we look forward to in North Queensland every year.

Then, finally, if this jam-packed weekend couldn’t get any better, North Queensland will also host the 2022 Wheelchair State of Origin match in Townsville between Queensland and New South Wales.

I’m so excited by this. I can’t wait to get to the match on Saturday, July 23, and see what these athletes have to offer. It’s a fast-growing game the wheelchair space.

There is no doubt it will be cracker. From what I hear, there’s no love lost between the two sides, just like any other State of Origin match.

So, if you live in Townsville, get to the game. It starts at 4pm at Townsville Stadium. Come and give your support to these athletes. Many of them are vying for selection in the Australian team for the World Cup at the end of the year.


And that’s all in one weekend.

We will of course follow it up with the XXXX League Championship final in Townsville on Saturday, July 30, as well as our RISE camp in Bamaga.

Like I said, July is definitely a month for fans of rugby league.

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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