“It’s a game of footy at the end of the day but it means a lot more and a lot more comes with it than just a game of footy for us."
Senior Constable Jake Carl and all those players across Queensland Police Service men's and women's teams will have two fallen colleagues firmly in their mind when they immerse themselves in the community for the Frank Fisher Cup reconciliation and memorial event in Chinchilla this weekend.
Carl is a member of the Operations Support Command and played a role in the resolution after the tragic events at Wieambilla last year and is well aware of the effect the loss of Constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold continues to have on the people who served alongside them every day.
“It definitely means a lot to play for them. It’s a massive tragedy what happened," he said.
"I was lucky enough to play in the charity match at Redcliffe a couple of months ago, and it’s good to go out to Chinchilla where I know the local cops in the community out there, it hit them pretty hard, so to play a game out there means a lot."
Carl, who is playing in his third Frank Fisher Cup game, said seeing how the community had banded together since the incident was heartwarming and hoped the match and lead-up engagement activities would develop that bond further.
“It is good to go back and thank them in a lighter form of playing a game of footy and hopefully the community can get down and watch and enjoy it as much as we will," he said.
“This Frank Fisher Cup gives us a good chance with the QPS to then go out to the local communities and do these community engagements with the schools and junior teams.
“In policing, some job are pretty high-stress and you’re doing stuff you don’t see0 every day, but we are all members of the community at the end of the day and we love our footy and to be able to go back and take a load off with the job and throw a footy around, it’s another good reason we can all come together for."
The match against the Frank Fisher Invitational also comes at the right time for the Queensland team looking to build combinations ahead of the 2023 Australian Police Rugby League Tri-Series on the Gold Coast in July.
Carl, the 2022 Australian Police skipper and former Hostplus Cup player for Burleigh Bears, said he was excited to see some rookies in the side to get them up to speed with the intensity involved in being in the state team.
The QPS Women's side will also be preparing for their interstate match when they take on the Central Crows representative team, but it will be secondary to the opportunity to interact with the community.
Star player and QRL independent director Sam Bliss said she was looking forward to reaching out into the community once again on the back of devastating incident last year.
"It's going to be a couple of days of reflection out there, and to really acknowledge and respect (Constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold) but also the neighbour Alan Dare who lost his life trying to support and assist our police," she said.
"(Frank Fisher Cup) is also about the social issues we're facing every day that we've got to drive some awareness of around the community and acknowledge those who have lost their lives to domestic violence and try to get out there and send a message that we need to try to reduce this ... to do that it's about reframing all our relationships, not only from a policing perspective to community, but internally too. It's got to be a community effort."
Bliss said rugby league was a driver for police to put aside the stresses of their work and the ideal vehicle for positive interactions with the community.
"Everyone loves their rugby league in Queensland, particularly in those rural areas, that's what they hang their hats on, and certainly people drive kilometres to get to the game," she said.
"You could look at from a funny point of view where they come and hopefully see the local boys give the coppers a bit of a touch-up, so it's something to witness and certainly some bragging rights there."
Watch Central Crows v QPS Women from Saturday at 12.30pm live and free only on Qplus.tv.