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'Healing for all of us': Michael Purcell Memorial team celebrates Murri Carnival win

An emotional reunion has ended in victory for the Michael Purcell Memorial team in the Queensland Murri Carnival men's final on Sunday.

The team known as Purga Wagtails in previous years, which had the likes of Cronulla Sharks NRL half Braydon Trindall, Matt Bowen and Ben Barba appear throughout the weekend, celebrated a 26-16 win over a similarly talented Darkies Connection side at Kayo Stadium on Sunday.

They shared in what was a time of healing for those who knew the 'Kangaroo Catcher' best during their time together with Ipswich Jets.

It inspired a player of the match performance from hooker Kierran Moseley with the support of the likes of Wes Conlon, Jayden Connors, Billy McConnachie and Marmin Barba, the latter missing out through injury.

Conlon said it was about much more than footy, which could be seen in the emotional scenes post-game.

Kierran Moseley gets a pass away during his player of the match performance. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
Kierran Moseley gets a pass away during his player of the match performance. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL

"It was like a cherry on top, a really great ending in commemoration of Michael Purcell, such an inspirational person, such a lovely human being and a larrikin centre of the party type guy all the time," he said.

"To do that for him and do it with a lot of the brothers who were close to him meant a lot to all of us.

"The last catch up for some of us was Purcey's funeral... so it was great to catch up with all them and just sit down and talk about life and how's everything's going.

"To get the win, it wasn't about it with this carnival but to do it, it was great healing for all of us and for the family and the community.

"For me personally, Purcey was a part of my family since a very young age and to see him do what he had done in his career, it really surprised me coming from the bush, seeing him go to Toowoomba, then come down to Ipswich and then just kill it.

"I loved playing with him and just standing back sometimes, seeing the stuff he did really, I couldn't believe it.

"I was just in disbelief, he was such a rare talent, but I'm so blessed to be a part of his journey and carry on his legacy."

Conlon said the experience was a reminder for everyone about the importance of speaking up if you're in need of mental health support, and checking in on your mates.

"There's so many help lines out there, there's so many businesses, but if you're too afraid to seek professional help, just speak up to a close family member, or a friend," he said.

"If you are struggling, don't be afraid. It's not weak to speak.

"We go to the doctors when we're sick and got a cold, but we tend to not go when we're struggling with our mental health and we need to look after it."

Conlon also praised the Arthur Beetson Foundation for putting on another "awesome" carnival.


The team is now eyeing off the Murri v Koori Challenge next year, where they will compete as Purga Wagtails.

Mungindi Panthers will join them after winning the women's final 16-14 against a Brisbane Natives side that charged home in the hope of defending their title.

The team included a core of players from the border town south of St George, joined by players hailing from Bundjalung country and as far away as Walgett in NSW.

Tries to Daisy Gordon, Kiani Duckett and Shanelle Lyons gave the Panthers a 14-0 lead at half-time on the back of dominating possession and field position.

Brisbane Natives found their groove in the second half and levelled the scores with 10 minutes remaining, but a penalty for markers not being square while defending their try line in the penultimate minute allowed Mungindi five-eighth Akira Kelly to step up and kick a match-winning penalty goal.

Mungindi coach Terrie Ann Cain (nee Kelly) said she was impressed with the spirit the team showed in the final against a high quality opponent.

"Leading up to the competition we prepped them well and did a lot of team bonding... and we just stuck to the game plan." she said.

"I knew that (Brisbane Natives) always start off really slowly and I knew that in the second half it was going to be challenging, but I told the girls it's going to come down to the one percenters and working for each other and who wanted it more on the day, so it was just that little mental challenge at the end.

"This was really special, putting Mungindi on the map."

Queensland Murri Carnival activities will be taking place for the remainder of the week, with the Junior Murri Carnival concluding on Tuesday before the competition for Under 14 to Under 18 age groups.

Michael Purcell Memorial winning squad: Tyronne Roberts-Davis, Michael Roberts, Brett Kelly, Michael Walit, Wes Conlon, Cameron Bundock, Ben Barba, Braydon Trindall, Luke Geary, Travis Turnbull, Shallin Fuller, Matt Bowen, David Armstrong, Kierran Moseley, Jayden Connors, Robert Kennedy, Daniel West-Pes, Tristan Lumley, Greg Davis, Khai Currie, Sam Shannon, Billy McConnachie, Dan Shannon, Cameron Toulhurst, Josh Shultz

Mungindi Panthers winning squad: Daisy Gordon, Kiani Duckett, Shanelle Lyons, Iesha Duckett, Brooklyn Prince, Akira Kelly, Tarnayar Hinch, Regan Danelle Hart, Megan Prince, Mikala Logan, Anna Nekina Tabuai Dingley, Tia Hinch, Emily Young, Lateia Duckett, Ataliah Love, Shakiah Riley, Janaya Trapman, Janet Morofa, Cheyenne Baker, Nellie Bell, Tia Chapman, Tashauna Willis, Esther Kebisu, Chontelle Orcher, Tegan Gibbs.

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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