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Cherbourg gem giving local kids fair shake at playing footy

One Cherbourg volunteer has taken her efforts to the next level to make sure children in her community can more easily access rugby league.

Kalchiri Jacobs was South Burnett Rugby League 2023 Clubperson of the Year but in the January heat was going door-to-door registering players and gathering concession card details to help families get signed on and apply for the Queensland Government’s FairPlay vouchers.

The efforts yielded government staff heading to the club’s sign-on day earlier this month to assist families to fill out their details and tap into the assistance on offer.

Jacobs, a single mum of three expecting her fourth child in 2024, hopes it will get every participant family access to FairPlay vouchers and attract more players to the club, which is aiming to have an under 17 girls team on the field for the first time this season.

“I’ve just been putting registrations out there early, getting it all sorted before clubs come around and get on top of the registrations,” the Cherbourg Hornets secretary said.

“A lot of people don’t have the money to pay straight up on the (sign-on) day, so it’s a big help with the FairPlay vouchers.

The Cherbourg Hornets sign on day on Friday, February 2
The Cherbourg Hornets sign on day on Friday, February 2

“It’s a bit of a struggle for some of them, and some of them don’t get to get into football and after the season they all go their own way… but it’s good to bring them back together again and get them on the field and playing as part of a team and have a happy game.”

Jacobs was originally planning to help establish and play for the senior women’s side when she attended a club meeting leading into the 2023 season and was initially a bit shocked when elected to the role of secretary.

But she didn’t take a backward step, pouring her time into the club, leading junior recruitment, learning and ticking off every procedure needed, coaching three junior teams and even did pickups and drop-offs for some families to make sure kids could get to the footy field.

“I was getting them all on the bus first thing in the morning at 7am in winter time, when it was cold,” Jacobs said.

“They love it. When they wake they’re first thing, ready to go, get on the field and they bring the happiness and joy on the field, and they’re always smiling… and they don’t realise how talented they are at a young age.

“They really love their football and really want to keep it going and everyone wants to go somewhere (with footy).

"They all love their idol Selwyn (Cobbo) and it’s a good thing when he comes back home, he comes to their football games, to home games to watch the juniors play and they’re just happy he’s there watching him and they all want to be like him when they’re older.”

She also paid tribute to her family, committee and the South Burnett Rugby League for playing a part in helping her be rewarded with “surprise” acknowledgement for her efforts.

QRL CEO Ben Ikin with Kalchiri Jacobs at the 2023 South Burnett Rugby League awards. Photo courtesy of South Burnett Online
QRL CEO Ben Ikin with Kalchiri Jacobs at the 2023 South Burnett Rugby League awards. Photo courtesy of South Burnett Online

Jacobs said having someone in community being recognised was already encouraging others to put their hand up for volunteer roles to ultimately support the kids to be happy and healthy.

Families can access the latest round FairPlay vouchers until May 1 by applying here.

New and past participants can register for their local club here to Play Something Unreal in 2024.

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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