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Community corner: The unsung heroes in Maroons success

Footy fever has well and truly hit north Queensland at the moment.

Between our local league comps, the All Abilities Endeavour Challenge, Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons fan day and upcoming carnivals about to commence, I honestly don’t know where to begin.

And that's aside from the Maroons retaining both shields for 2023 - one our wonderful women secured at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. How good.

It’s important to recognise while a lot of focus has been on the pinnacle of our game these last few weeks, none of this happens without you, the people involved in grassroots community rugby league. 

Every player commenced their journey somewhere in our state and for quite a few this was in north Queensland.  

From the mums and dads spending weekends taking their sons and daughters to training and weekend games, to the coaching staff that have contributed hundreds of hours to see community footy thrive, to our many volunteers and club committees, you are very much a part of this success.

The Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons fan day on The Strand has so much support. Photo: Scott Davis
The Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons fan day on The Strand has so much support. Photo: Scott Davis

It makes me proud when Billy Slater acknowledges the team is representing you in some way and this is evident in everything they do, from how they conduct themselves to the Queensland postcodes they wear on their sleeves.

On the field, community and performance footy may be miles apart, but in terms of culture and connection, we’ve never been closer.  

You’ve all heard it before. Rugby League is more than a game.

I was fortunate enough to attend both games in Brisbane and Townsville last week. Our supporter base at both games was outstanding. Take a bow, Queensland.

Marita Sagigi (left) was one of many volunteer award winners celebrated at Game II.
Marita Sagigi (left) was one of many volunteer award winners celebrated at Game II.

The other great thing to see at the game was our 2023 QRL Community Volunteer Awards winners from the North region enjoying their prize in the 48 hours leading up to and including the men's Game II.

These were Herbert River Crushers president Joe Pennisi, the Shell V-Power Volunteer of the Year, and Marita Sagigi, making the trip from Thursday Island as a representative of Zenadth Kes Junior Rugby League, selected as the XXXX Community Club of the Year in May.

You will learn a bit more about their stories later this year.

We continue to say volunteers are the backbone to our community game and to see all these wonderful winners from around the state recognised at a formal ceremony and to see them sideline at State of Origin as Queensland ran on to Suncorp Stadium was another highlight of what has been a huge week.

Just last weekend the under 13 Nate Myles Cup, celebrating its 10-year anniversary, was hosted in Gordonvale. 

Upcoming over the next few weeks is massive too with the Laurie Spina Shield in Townsville, followed by the Queensland Maroons fan day in Cairns on July 4, the same day our region's two-day RISE carnival kicks off at Jack Manski Oval for more than 250 male and female players in attendance. 

RISE continues to go from strength to strength as a program like no other. We challenged ourselves to be a leader in sport and this product is evident in where it can take aspirational players on a journey of not only the rugby league kind but a discovery of self and determination.

Thank you to all 180 plus coaching staff involved in our program for 2023.

Just around the corner from that will be the regional championships for under 17 girls, where players will be vying for selection in the Queensland Country team to play in September.

This and the RISE carnivals could well include some future Maroons.

Shout out 

A shout out to the record-breaking crowd of more than 18,000 people who attended the State of Origin in Townsville, you are amazing. As a former player, to see these women get the support they thoroughly deserve made me quite emotional. It was a truly spectacular moment, and that was the just the pre-game.

Other key dates

July 29: XXXX League Championship, Brisbane Red versus Cairns

Celebrating our team

Jodi Stevens

Role: Area manager, Far North Queensland

Hometown: Gold Coast

Favourite Maroons player: That’s tough. I will say Patrick Carrigan. Just a gritty, tough forward.

Favourite Maroons moment: Being at Game II and witnessing them take out the 2023 series. Seeing how much that jersey means to each of those players and the pride they have in wearing it.

Why you love your job: I love my job because it doesn’t feel like a job. I love the game so much and am truly blessed to be able to work within the game every day and see the happiness this game brings from grassroots to the top level.

What Jodi brings to the team: Jodi has lived in Far North Queensland for 35 years and her knowledge is second to none. This is her first year with the QRL however she has been a volunteer with the game for 15-plus years. She is committed to seeing continual growth and development and loves seeing the enjoyment people experience being involved. We are very grateful to now have Jodi on our team and she is such a valued addition and we look forward to what lies ahead.



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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