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Community corner: SafePlay code in focus in busy post-season

The footy may be all but over for us in what has been a very successful year for Queensland Rugby League's Central region, but in reality this is our busiest time of year behind the scenes.

The region's post-season conference will have our staff gathering in Hervey Bay at the end of this month as we tackle a number of key issues, while also coming together with local NRL development staff to figure out how to, collectively, better serve communities across our vast geographic footprint.

The most pressing item will be about how to best provide support to clubs for their AGM processes, making sure they've got all the information they need to meet governance requirements in preparation for next year.

With the NRL we'll be looking at how to deliver coach education, shoring up concussion protocols for community rugby league at all ages and establishing the details for a number of activations to engage people in our game.

There will also be a major priority placed on promoting the national SafePlay Code, which is an important part of junior rugby league right up to the under 15 age group.

It's important to recognise rugby league in these age groups looks different to what you see in the NRL and the code is there to make sure safeguards are in place to protect participants of all abilities on the field.

Under the code, tacklers from under 15 down are not allowed to do things like lift the ball carrier off the ground, or drive them into the ground, sling them by the jersey, tackle above the armpits or use a 'vicious' fend while in possession.

It's as important for spectators to be across the SafePlay Code as it is the players, coaches and volunteers - particularly to support our referees who officiate to these rules.

Expect to see plenty more information about this on social media in the lead up to 2024 season.

In the same breath, we'll also be reviewing the processes around the Positive Environment Program, which clubs have done a fantastic job promoting throughout the year as we look to keep improving behaviour.

We're also going to be hard at work setting up another huge carnival calendar for 2024, getting all the grounds sorted and approvals locked in to make sure we can continue to offer and build on the carnivals that create lifetime memories and friendships for everyone involved.

Shout out

Selwyn Toby from Capricornia Coast Brothers has been one of the standouts in Rockhampton junior rugby league in 2024. He has filled many roles including president of the Capricornia Coast Juniors, RISE coach, Tackle Ready deliverer, sat on the judiciary and disciplinary tribunals this year and assisted with a six week female program to boost numbers in under 14 and under 17 girls teams in preparation for 2024.

Celebrating our team

Peter Rafter

Becky Rafter, Brisbane Tigers' Tom Rafter and QRL Outback league and club coordinator Peter Rafter
Becky Rafter, Brisbane Tigers' Tom Rafter and QRL Outback league and club coordinator Peter Rafter

Role: Outback league and club coordinator.

Hometown: Originally a Toowoomba boy, but have resided on Bribie Island now for 37 years.

Favourite Maroons player: The King, Wally Lewis - nothing more needs to be said.

Favourite Maroons Origin moment: Watching the 'worst Queensland team ever' win the 2020 series.  That certainly showed a few people in NSW who we are. 

Why you love your job: The people I meet, the clubs and towns I visit, being able to make a difference, seeing how communities really back their rugby league teams and how the teams support their communities. The people I work with who totally support and understand the Outback and where and why they need our support.  I have meet so many great people in the Outback who I consider friends for life who I would not have met other than for the QRL role I have in the Outback. One day, when I do retire, I will still be making visits to many of these towns.

What Peter brings to the team: Peter brings a wealth of knowledge on the QRL rules to leagues and clubs in the outback and remote areas of Central region. Pete’s laidback demeanour endears him to the volunteers in these areas, with his visits taking up three weeks out of every month. Pete is integral in planning and executing the Queensland Outback junior and senior representative program, which provides pathways, pride, education and everlasting memories to the male and female participants that undertake this journey.

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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