Another very successful Rees Orman City Country Cultural Exchange was held at the Coolum Colts over the weekend.
As it is every year it is a non-competitive, non-scoring carnival with teams from Warwick, Bundaberg, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Roma, St George and of course the Queensland Outback junior teams.
Even though there were no scores on the scoreboard, the teams knew who won each game and congratulated each other whether it was a win, loss or a draw.
The sportsmanship shown by these young adults is something which separates this carnival from the rest.
For some of the players and staff from the outback, travelling to the carnival involved a 30-plus hour bus trip with players coming from as far away as Normanton.
Nigel Tremain, a long-time valued volunteer for the Queensland Outback teams, said: “The journey is long, but the memories and friendships made will be forever. This is a massive reflection on our outback families and how our Outback teams come together showcasing our community values.”
With most teams staying in camps together, many more friendships have been made with discussions held between management of teams and the likelihood of a Brisbane teaming travelling out to St George to play a couple of games and experience outback life including some sheep shearing.
It is amazing what rugby league can do for all age groups. We might not all get to play for the Maroons or Australia, but these memories will be just a lasting for these players.
Some of the players from the Outback, especially the girls, only play in two or three carnivals like this a year, but the quality of the football was outstanding with some real future stars on show.
The Outback players were also hosted by Coolum Surf School, where 20 of the players took up the opportunity to have a go at the waves and many actually getting up on the boards in the short time they had there. Thanks to Chris and his staff for this opportunity.
The police recruiting team attended the carnival again this year to explain to these young people what a police career could mean to them and their communities.
Next year they are looking at other ways in which they can communicate even more personally with the players.
There were many comments made over the weekend by the organisers, management at the camps and by the police recruiting about the manners and politeness of the players involved, with special mention by the Coolum Colts about the cleanliness of the grounds when everyone departed.
Usually they spend hours cleaning the grounds, but there was not any rubbish to be found.
For the second year, the Spirit of the Outback award was presented to a male and female player from the Outback, with the criteria set by Geoff Orman.
This goes to the player who has gone above and beyond in regards to their attitude, showing respect and doing things in camp to assist others and is voted on by the coaching staff which recognises their personal qualities, not just their playing ability.
This year’s winners were Rocky Smith from Charleville and Donella Holt from Mt Isa. These awards were presented to the players by Glyn Rees.
Another huge thank you to all volunteers at the Coolum Colts who work tirelessly for weeks leading up to the event as well as many hours over the weekend. Nothing we ask is too much trouble for them.