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Mini Maroons: Adrian Vowles Cup special

Mini Maroons shines a light on elite examples of talent and sportsmanship, of which there was plenty at the Adrian Vowles Cup in Charleville.

How good

No team, no worries.

Few embodied the spirit of the Adrian Vowles Cup more than Alex Liddle.

The Under 14 player’s club Redlands didn’t send a team to Charleville this year, but that didn’t stop him making the trip with his dad under the guise of representing his former club Chinchilla Bulldogs.

Alex turned a gun for hire, getting on the field for so many matches for so many teams during the two days he lost count.

“I’m pretty knackered, can’t wait to get some sleep really, but it was really good fun,” Alex said.

“I played winger, centre, front row, second row – a bit of everywhere. Normally I play in the halves or a bit of hooker.

“It’s good to play with all the teams and meet a lot of new kids.

“In Brisbane there’s a lot of big boys, but here it’s good to see boys of all shapes and sizes, some are easier and some are harder to tackle.

“I really like it. It’s good, fun footy. The flies aren’t good though.”

Alex is no stranger to Outback footy and can see the meaning behind it, too.

As a nine-year-old in 2018, following a letter he wrote to the QRL, he helped deliver 50 footballs to drought-stricken Morven – coincidentally where he stayed with his dad during the Adrian Vowles Cup, due to every hotel room in Charleville being booked out.

“It’s definitely worth it,” Alex said of the carnival.

“It’s probably a good fundraiser for the country and it’s a good drive and you get to play some footy, so it’s good.”

He’s not just a jack-of-all-trades with the ball, having also become involved as a referee at local level and earning the accolade of BRL Junior Rookie Referee of the Year for Zone 3.

Next year he plans to pick up the whistle for the trip to Charleville.

“I really encourage to take up refereeing, it’s really good to do, good to earn some money and good getting coaching from all the people I’ve met," Alex said.

More officials are needed in 2024 and organisers are hoping more like Alex are inspired to get involved and experience the carnival.

Always time for sportsmanship

The Under 16 final was at a pivotal moment with a few minutes remaining when a hard hit floored a Caboolture player. Central West No.12 Ryan Hardie was quick to respond by checking on his opponent’s welfare and prompting the game to stop.

Mullet madness

The noisiest time of the carnival didn’t come during any of the matches. What really drove the crowd into a frenzy was the judging of the best mullet competition. Five contenders made the hairy shortlist before the judges put it to the fans to sound their approval. The biggest cheer was reserved for golden-haired Pittsworth Under 16 player Ethan. You had to be there.


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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