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Community Corner: From humble beginnings to dizzying heights

One of the cool things about my job is getting to see where footy players start and the heights that rugby league can take them to.

In the South East at the moment, we’re celebrating a lot of “firsts” for our juniors and also some significant milestones for our seniors.

Last weekend we saw Brisbane and Ipswich host their under 7s gala days - following on from the Gold Coast a few weeks ago - in which the kids in these age groups completed their TackleReady programs.

They were able to tick off that long-awaited goal of playing in their first tackle games and, after looking at all the vision from the weekend, it was awesome to see so many youngsters taking part and enjoying it.

The clubs across the South East showed dedication to the six week program where they learnt how to tackle and be tackled safely.

One of the biggest things I noticed was these kids had the ability to make good tackles with their heads in the right position and perhaps the most pleasing thing I noticed is that when the players were running the ball, they ran through the middle of their opposition.

Through this program they’ve learnt to run straight, through the middle and find space. It was so impressive to see.

You just have to look back to vision from a few years ago and there was nowhere near the same quality but now they’re learning the game under less pressure and hopefully rugby league is something they will stick with for a lifetime.

They are better and more competent players because of it and know they can tackle and be tackled safely.

I also want to add a little congratulations to the crew that got it done from the South East development team. Ninety-four clubs across the South East is a huge undertaking and to do that at this time of year with everything else going on, they certainly need to be congratulated for it.

Another big “first” in rugby league is that of playing in and winning finals.

That will certainly be the case for some of our girls and women next month, when the female juniors and seniors kick off their finals campaigns on August 6-7.

After a really disrupted start to the season we’ve seen some fantastic rugby league take place across the region and across all divisions.

It’s great to see the growth we have had as well, which has allowed more females to play the game and resulted in really competitive matches across both juniors and seniors.

With the finals coming up it’s a great opportunity to showcase those skills they’ve learnt throughout the year.

This is what they train for on cold winter nights around the regions. This is what they have made all that sacrifice for - to be at the pointy end of the year and to get the reward for all their hard effort.

And another big final we’re going to see in the next couple of weeks is that of the XXXX League Championship.

The Gold Coast Vikings will represent the South East region after winning the XXXX Chairman’s Challenge in May and will head north to take on Townsville next Saturday, July 30.

Last year Brisbane took on Toowoomba in the final so it’s great to have two different teams in the decider to enjoy that experience.

All the players on the Gold Coast might also use this as a stepping stone to something else.

The match will be streamed across the state and beyond and it could prove to be a pathway to higher honours and to more amazing opportunities.

Like I said, it’s pretty cool in sport to watch where our young footy players start and where they can go.

What's coming up in the South East region

Date Event Location
Saturday July 23 Nerang Roosters JRLFC Indigenous Round  Nerang
Saturday July 30 XXXX League Championship final featuring Gold Coast Vikings Townsville
Sat and Sun Aug 6-7 SEQ females juniors and seniors finals begin South East
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