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Islands' time to shine after key conference

Better outcomes on and off the field are on the way for remote communities in the northern Cape and Torres Strait islands after a successful first-ever administration conference on Thursday Island.

Cape and Torres league and club coordinator Terry Abednego was joined by dozens of volunteers from the mainland right through to the outer islands for the landmark event.

Queensland Rugby League director Clinton Begg, QRL North region manager Renae Kunst, the region’s wellbeing manager Coco Quirke, NRL game development officer Alby Anderson and QRL social impact and diversity coordinator Liberty Jones also joined Abednego. 

The focus was on bringing people up to speed with critical information on the tools at the disposal of club and team organisers – many who hail from remote locations where accessing consistent internet can be difficult.

Abednego said 26 coaches and 17 league safe trainers were accredited on the day, with more enrolling in training courses, in a huge result for the region.

“It was very well received. A lot of information was passed on and for some it was new information about things like match review and clubhouse,” Abednego said.

“We’ve always been a couple of steps behind some of the other competitions around compliance and registrations but after stuff like the admin day we’ll really be able to pick it up.

“We had Coco here too from the wellbeing team talking about the Support Squad and I’ve already had people emailing me with Blue Cards and wanting to get mental health first aid training so they can be part of it.

“People also got to establish networks on the day, which was something that was needed for the game within the region.”

Abednego said the information would be vital to getting the Outer Islands Junior Rugby League and Northern Peninsula competitions under way in 2023, and boost the thriving Zenadth Kes Rugby League, based on Thursday Island.

The ZKRL is shaping up to have a six-team men’s and four-team women’s competition kicking off after Easter and with more than 150 junior players, it makes rugby league part of the fabric of the community with a massive proportion of the population being involved in rugby league in some way.

Renewed efforts have gone into plans to getting junior and senior competitions in communities around Bamaga resuming on a similar timeframe, with opportunities such as the inaugural RISE camp in the Cape York hub coming up later this year.

The Island of Origin and juniors’ Superhero Round will again be back to fuel the passion for rugby league, while a Family of League legends game is also in the works.

“Considering the logistics up here and the expense of travel up here, it’s a big challenge but these things have been done in the past, so we’ll make it happen and have it all up and running,” Abednego said.

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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