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Mini Maroons: Walkers Weekend brings out true rugby league spirit

Plenty of emerging talent was on show at the recent Walkers Weekend Under 13 carnival held at Toowoomba Valleys Juniors.

The event is named for the Walker family, who has had the likes of Ben, Shane, Chris and currently Roosters halfback Sam in the NRL. Sam even put his hand up to come off the bench for one team who needed his brilliance.

The two players named at lock in the respective boys' and girls' teams of the carnival – Hunter Tate-Roache (Southern Suburbs) and Emere Lazarus (Pittsworth) - were awarded best and fairest, while Lachie Ciesolka won the Ian McGill Referee of the Challenge award.

Congratulations must also go to all the winning teams, including Pittsworth, Valleys, Souths and Wattles – and the joint winners of the Chris Walker Cup, Newtown and Highfields, who couldn’t be split in the grand final.

The Gary and Trish Walker Spirit Award went to Pittsworth, who had far and away the best girls team on show but split their excess players between other teams who were short of numbers to make sure there were even contests. The girls eventually lost the final but won the hearts of everyone.

Carnival organiser Lennie Currie said the event, which had 17 teams this year, was created to give under 13s players an early taste of International level junior footy before the start of their seasons.

The two best and fairest players were “standouts all carnival”.

“At 13 they’re probably a bit bigger and stronger than the others, but why I pushed for them was once the game was won they stopped steamrolling and turned into pivots and played fair and took on a different role,” Currie said.

He said next year’s plan was to fund referee training courses in the lead up to the carnival, so those officials could then go on to referee during the carnival – with the help of some more senior officials – to put their skills into practice and boost the local referees’ association.

Multi-talented star keeps rising

There’s plenty of talent in the Under 17 Girls Southern Outback team but Amelia O’Toole is one of the standouts.

Amelia will lead the team and has become known as a bit of a whiz at anything she puts her mind to.

The Charleville junior is also a rising boxer, having already achieved state title success and been noted as an emerging athlete who could be on the path to the Olympics.

Amelia is one of the highly talented O’Toole family – her brothers have played for Queensland Outback and she’s just as tough and outstanding, according to Queensland Rugby League Outback league and club coordinator Peter Rafter.

Under 17 Girls Southern Outback squad: Hope Anderson (Charleville), Sophie Beetson (Yuleba), Tori Castles (Charleville), Nequwa Collins (St George), Abbey Cowley (Longreach), Emmie Creevey (Augathella), Jemmika Dahlstrom (St George), Jadee Denton (Roma), Bo Gattera (Charleville), Phoebe Knight (Roma), Lacy Lee (Murgon), Brooke Lemon (Roma), Emmerson Mitchell (Charleville), Amelia O'Toole (Charleville), Antoinette Pender (Cunnamulla), Charli Pender (Cunnamulla), Tahlia Stewart (Charleville), Bianca Wharton (Roma)

Coach: Wendy Clarke

Manager: Kylie O’Toole

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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