Community clubs in the Central region have shown a fantastic commitment to the Positive Environment Program this year as a vehicle to improve the behaviour of everyone who steps into a rugby league venue.
The PEP has established a streamlined process for calling out behaviour we don't want associated with our game, in a system that never existed previously.
The workload has challenged our league and club coordinators and area managers at the coalface, but we're committed to making sure the right people are in our game for the right reasons.
We've sent out a clear message and thanks to the unprecedented support of clubs and their announcements over the PA systems and social media, people are starting to understand there's certain behaviours expected once you go to a rugby league ground, making families want to be a part of the game.
Off the field, with only a few junior and senior grand final days to come in Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast, we're now in the process of reviewing and assessing our competitions to see what improvements we can make for 2024.
We want to get more people playing the game and make it as accessible as possible, and women's rugby league is a particular focus.
We've got plenty of girls who want to play the game in areas with isolated populations, so we need to find ways to be able to provide football to keep these girls engaged.
The expansion of female rugby league in the statewide space, including the introduction of an under 17 development competition alongside the Harvey Norman Under 19s, means there's more opportunities than ever for girls to progress, and it all starts at the grassroots.
We'll be forming our plans for community competition structures on the back of those details being finalised, as we will for the junior boys around Cyril Connell Cup under 17s and Mal Meninga Cup under 19s structures.
For now the community in Rockhampton, the Central Highlands and surrounds are getting behind the Central Queensland Capras, who have made their first preliminary final in 14 years.
The crowds at Browne Park have been fantastic to be part of this year, and they made it into a real fortress, losing just the one game there all year.
Our community clubs feel a special connection to the Capras based on the high percentage of local talent playing Hostplus Cup, on top of many of our players in A grade competitions having experience in the Capras elite training environment and bringing those skills back to the grassroots.
It's a shame for us in Central region that the Capras' progression was at the expense of Sunshine Coast Falcons, but we move forward and prepare to cheer our side against Brisbane Tigers on Sunday.
Match: Tigers v Capras
Finals Week 3 -
Venue: Totally Workwear Stadium, Brisbane
Main image: Tenterfield Tigers showing how it's done with positivity in Respect Round back in May
I'd like to give a shout out to my team of area managers and league and club coordinators who have put in a mountain of work this year to make sure clubs are across the Positive Environment Program, and then working with clubs and individuals to respond to incidents and make sure community rugby league is a safe and welcome environment for all players and their families.
Celebrating our team
Role: League and club coordinator, Wide Bay
Hometown: Agnes Water (Gureng Gureng traditional owners)
Favourite Maroons player: Billy Slater. My son is partly named after him and all the sporting “Slater” greats.
Favourite Maroons Origin moment: Not a specific moment per se, but definitely Game III, 2022. It had a very old school Origin feel the whole game. The game itself was intense. I can’t even begin to explain the atmosphere at the stadium, it was amazing. I couldn’t look away and was transfixed or on the edge of my seat the whole game!
Why you love your job: I love that my job works so closely with community rugby league members. I get to assist, support and guide volunteers, players, and supporters to participate in our game and watch their visions come to light. The enjoyment of my role is to make our volunteers lives easier, with creating innovations to support and assist them in their roles and ensure that footy is being played! It's not a chore to do what you love. I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work I have achieved to support the game we all love being played and the friendships I have made by rugby league uniting us.
What Kym brings to the team: Kym brings a bubbly and energetic vibe to the Central region team. She has a hectic lifestyle raising a young family with her husband Tim who also runs his own large building business. Kym has a soft spot for female rugby league and works hard to find opportunities in this space in the Wide Bay area.