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Community Corner: All Abilities set for the big stage

Semi-finals fever has hit the northern region.

Over the past couple of weeks, everyone from every corner has been in the race to hit the top four or five, to make it to the finals and put themselves in the mix for premiership glory.

In Mackay, their A grade finals are well underway with the Magpies already in the men’s grand final while Carltons Devils are through for the women’s.

In Townsville, they have just wrapped up their regular seasons and will this weekend move into the first round of finals while Cairns are one week away from joining them.

But regardless of where your team sits right now, everyone who played rugby league in 2022 should be proud.

Commiserations to those who missed out on finals and congratulations to those who have made it through.

I reckon we have a thrilling couple of weeks ahead.

It’s already been a really exciting season with many highs and a couple of lows but, as always, the good outweighs the bad.

Our participation numbers have never been better, which is a testament to our coaches, volunteers, community members, leagues and clubs, and those that continue to provide opportunities for players across the region.

I also must give a heartfelt thank you to our volunteers who continually go above and beyond.

Without you there is no game.

Just recently I had the opportunity to sift through many, many nominations for the Queensland Rugby League’s community awards.

I was reading the stories of volunteers, community coaches, community clubs, and honestly, there is nothing is more refreshing to witness than the lengths people in our game will go to in a bid to provide opportunities for participation and inclusion for those who love our game.

When things are tough or busy in rugby league world, it’s always good to stop, sit back and see all the good that is being done.

Congratulations to our monthly winners from the North and to all who are in the running for the annual awards.

Another heartwarming aspect of rugby league that we are preparing to celebrate in the North is that of our All Abilities game.

We have a strong program developing up here, with the Townsville Blackhawks and Mackay Cutters’ All Abilities teams.

They’ve played each other in the past but next week’s game will be like no other they have played before.

The two sides will meet at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday, September 3, in a curtain-raiser to the North Queensland Cowboys and Penrith Panthers NRL clash.

To be involved in the final regular round of the NRL season – and what a blockbuster game it’s expected to be – is a huge platform for our All Abilities teams.

The staff who help out with these teams, their phones have not stopped ringing, and everyone is counting down the days until the match.

This couldn’t have been done without the Cutters, Blackhawks and Cowboys.

We think about rugby league as an all-inclusive game and we know the impact it can have on the community.

To think that just a few years ago these All Abilities players were simply fans of the game and now they will be in the middle of the field at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, it’s huge.

I’m so excited for everything they are set to experience – being in the tunnel, running out onto the field with fans in the stands cheering them on. It’s going to be surreal for them.

I can’t wait to see it, to be up there.

And here’s to many more wonderful experiences in All Abilities in the future.

Stay tuned.

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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