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Community corner: Pointy end of season brings special moments

The end of season is nigh and I was fortunate enough to be at the Mackay District Junior Rugby League finals day last Saturday to see a fantastic display of football all weekend.

Grand final days are not just for the participants of the day, but great recognition for all clubs who have been part of the season and how they've contributed to ensuring that everyone involved is having a wonderful time and that everyone participating is enjoying their experience throughout the year.

Not to mention, it's for all of our volunteers. We have 6000-7000 actively partaking in rugby league across North Queensland on a weekly basis and this game is successful because of the amount of time and effort each and every one of you contribute to and to being a part of what we know is the greatest game up here in the North.

I was also lucky enough to attend the Rugby League Townsville District presentation night on Friday night, where the Dr Rod Ward Medal was awarded for the A grade player of the year.

Macky junior finals. Under 14 boys winners Brothers Bulldogs. Photo: Marty Strecker
Macky junior finals. Under 14 boys winners Brothers Bulldogs. Photo: Marty Strecker

Dr Ward is wonderful man and gave us the highlight of the night.

In preparing to announce the winner, he stopped and told the crowd he would reveal a bit differently than usual.

He holds a photo up and it's a photo from 1982. He explains in the photo with him is Mick Dempsey and he called Mick up and said to him to please present Curtis Dempsey, his son, the Rod Ward Medal for player of the year.

In short, there was not a dry eye in the house.

It was a beautiful moment and again a testament to, to what rugby league does.

While that moment is always special, Dr Ward made it extra special for Curtis, his dad, his family and their club Souths.

It was definitely the highlight of the night to see that special moment being played out between a father and son who just have an absolute love of the game.

This weekend sees the finals of the Mackay seniors and then we turn our attention to the following weekend, when we will have the FNQ senior grand finals on September 9 and Townsville grand finals on September 10.

From there, we still have a little bit of footy to be played to keep the kids occupied.

As we all know up here in the Great North, they don't call us the carnival Mecca for nothing, because we then turn our attention to the school holidays and the upcoming carnivals that are fixtures on our calendar, named for Paul Bowman, Tom Tassell and Gorden Tallis.

We also have our under 15 boys rebel State Development Series carnival being played at RLTD Juniors fields at Kirwan on September 29-30.

Our carnivals are always shining lights in creating the positive environment we would like to see fostered at every ground every single week.

It's such a great way for our young people to finish off their season and celebrate with their club teams and mates, which is what the game is all about.

Shout out

A massive shout out to the RLTD board and associated clubs and members for fostering a record level of participation this year. QRL North chairman Clinton Begg, who represents our region on the QRL Board, gave an appreciation trophy to dignitaries from the league to celebrate the participation of more than 5000 people and 1700 volunteers in 2023. Keep up the good work.

Celebrating our team

Terry Abednego

Role: QRL North league and club coordinator - Cape and Torres

Hometown: Waibene (Thursday Island)

Favourite Maroons player: Mal Meninga and Josh Papalii

Why you love your job: Rugby league in Indigenous remote communities is a powerful tool and vehicle to help tackle all forms of problems within the community. This I have witnessed as a young kid growing up and to this day, that’s why it’s the pinnacle sport in Zenadth Kes. 

What Terry brings to the team: We are very fortunate to have Terry in our QRL North team through his heartfelt passion in providing opportunities for people in remote communities. Terry understands first-hand the challenges in these areas and we rely heavily on his expertise to help inform and guide our organisation. Terry is an educator on culture and many people have been inspired by his storytelling and taking us on our journey for First Nations people.

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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