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Travis Burns has spent the past five seasons giving back to grassroots footy. Now he wants to deliver the ultimate reward to his childhood club Wattles Warriors when he leads them into this weekend’s Toowoomba Rugby League grand final.

Born in Texas – a rural town in the Goondiwindi region – Burns played for the local club growing up before making the move to Wattles in under 15s.

The former NRL star, who played with Manly Sea Eagles, North Queensland Cowboys and Penrith Panthers during his 128-game career, returned to Wattles in 2018 after a season with Wynnum Manly in the Hostplus Cup.

He has been playing and coaching the A grade side ever since and now has the chance to hand them a premiership trophy when they go up against the Gatton Hawks on Sunday, September 18.

“My first year back was in 2018 and it was all about coming back and giving a bit back to my local area and my local club,” Burns said.

“It was a way to give back to the grassroots. I always thought if I settled in this area again, I would have something to do with this club. My son now also plays with the club, which is exciting.

“It’s very, very special to make a grand final for your local club. We’re a close-knit team and close-knit community.

“But we haven’t won anything yet. We know we’re going to have to play really well. Gatton are a red-hot team and have strike all across the park.

“We just have to turn up and give it all we’ve got.”

Wattles have been a force all season and in their head-to-head with Gatton this year, it’s one win apiece for the two sides.

The Hawks overcame the Warriors 38-12 in Round 9 before Wattles got one back in the second week of finals with a 38-22 victory.

They finished first and second on the ladder, with Gatton minor premiers, and Burns said to have both sides in the grand final is a fitting finish to 2022.

“Gatton have been the team to beat all season, being minor premiers and top of the ladder for most of the year. They’re going to be tough,” Burns said.

“It will be a great day overall. We are both really good footy sides, both have really good fan bases.

“After the regular season we were the one and two teams so it’s good we’re the ones playing it out in the decider.

“We know it’s a tough game and they’re a really good side. We’re in with a shot if we turn up with the right attitude.”

The Toowoomba Rugby League A grade final will be played at 3pm on Sunday, September 18, at Clive Berghofer Stadium in Toowoomba.

All Toowoomba Rugby League senior grand finals will be livestreamed through

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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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