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Clydesdales impress QRL leaders during Toowoomba visit

Queensland Rugby League chairman Bruce Hatcher is backing a bright long-term future for the Western Clydesdales after meeting with club officials and regional stakeholders in Toowoomba last weekend.

Hatcher and fellow directors were enthusiastic spectators at Clive Berghofer Stadium where they watched the Clydesdales play the Central Queensland Capras in Hastings Deering Colts and Hostplus Cup games.

The Clydesdales, in their first season back in the top flight of the Hostplus Cup, went down 26-10 to the semi-final bound Capras. 

“The reality is they’ve been very competitive for large parts of games, and like sides who are a little bit inexperienced playing at that level, they probably let themselves down in critical periods,” Hatcher said of the Clydesdales.

“I think last weekend was a good sign of how competitive they are. It augurs well for a very good, long-term future in the top grade.

“The affiliation with the Canterbury Bulldogs has been a good one, and what we’re interested in is broadening the base of Queensland-based talent at that level to support our continual ambition of producing players and coaches to compete in the State of Origin arena.”

The QRL Board held their bi-monthly meeting at the home of rugby league in Toowoomba on Saturday morning.

Following the meeting, directors joined QRL chief executive officer Ben Ikin and members of the QRL’s senior leadership team in the John “Cracker” McDonald room for the QRL’s annual regional stakeholder function.

Guests included Toowoomba Regional Council mayor Geoff McDonald and representatives from the Western Clydesdales, Toowoomba junior and senior leagues, as well as QRL partners BMD and Hastings Deering.

QRL Central chairman Danny McGuire formally welcomed guests to the function, and made special mention of the region’s dedicated group of administrators and volunteers. 

Ikin and McDonald also spoke about the Toowoomba region’s rich rugby league history and their vision for the future.

Those sentiments were echoed by Hatcher, who was encouraged by the collaboration and energy throughout the room.

“I think it’s important for the QRL Board, to not only go and watch the games of the clubs who represent us, but to go and talk to the various boards, their supporters and sponsors, to get a good feel for the area and what’s going on, and how we can assist their further development,” Hatcher said.

Hatcher, McGuire, Darryl Van de Velde, Clinton Begg, Naomi McCarthy, Renita Garard and Brian Canavan were among the directors who were also able to take in the entertaining action of the Under 17 girls match between Southern Suburbs and Dalby.

The Toowoomba Junior Rugby League has been running a standalone girls competition since 2019, while this is the third season of the Toowoomba Rugby League women’s competition.

There are currently more than 4000 registered male and female players involved in Toowoomba’s junior and senior competitions.

Hero photo: QRL CEO Ben Ikin, Western Clydesdales CEO Shane Sullivan, Western Clydesdales chairman Tony Coonan, Toowoomba Regional Council mayor Geoff McDonald and QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher. Photo: Michael Hillier/QRL

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