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RISE camp makes impression on Bamaga, Torres youths

Youths from remote Indigenous and Torres Strait islands communities are among those getting to share their skills on the back of RISE camps.

More than 100 players and 10 coaches from across the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area descended on Thursday Island for the rugby league themed skill and personal development program, packed into two intense days.

The last of the RISE camps across north Queensland takes place in Cooktown this weekend, following similar programs run in Palm Island, Weipa and Mount Isa.

This will culminate in a carnival featuring players from the above locations, to be held at Jones Park in Cairns on July 13, where many will get the opportunity to put their skills into practice.

The Thursday Island camp was a "pretty exciting" weekend for a crew of 16 players and three coaches from Bamaga, according to Hassim Adidi, who was one of the coaches part of the mainland crew.

Coaches and support staff at the RISE Thursday Island camp last weekend.
Coaches and support staff at the RISE Thursday Island camp last weekend.

"The kids had a lot of fun, because most of them haven't been exposed to that sort of thing," Adidi, who plays for Alau Eagles in the senior competition, said.

"The structure of it and the Life-Fit was an eye-opener for them, and the strength and conditioning.

"The boys mostly just go off natural talent and play footy, but especially for the older boys it was good for them and they enjoyed it, so they're looking forward to the carnival in Cairns in July."

Life-Fit being delivered to participants.
Life-Fit being delivered to participants.

Life-Fit is an important part of the holistic approach of RISE, aimed at helping participants develop socio-emotional skills, healthy habits and learn how to look after their mental health and wellbeing. 

"They had a few lessons and activities to do as a team. At the start it was a bit challenging to them, but once we explained to them the holistic view of it about rugby league and what it does, they really bought into it," Adidi said.

"Rugby league has the power to change kids and people and community. 

"We come back Monday morning and the boys were yarning with their parents and they were so happy for the kids because they were so excited and wanting to go back to school and tell their friends."

The coach development aspect is a timely one for Adidi, who is set to put his skills into practice for the resumption of junior rugby league for under 12 age groups in the NPA next month.

"We got involved with the coaching stuff and it was pretty exciting, it was new to all of us and we did a few drills and it was good to get a perspective other than playing," he said.

A sign on afternoon will take place in Bamaga on Friday, June 7, before a come-and-try day on Saturday, June 8, from 8.30am-2.30pm, with an eye to training and games for under 12s during term 3.

Freddie David, Marcella Mosby and Ella-Faye Hosea-Peters.
Freddie David, Marcella Mosby and Ella-Faye Hosea-Peters.

The NPA Regional Rugby League senior men's competition, which featured four teams on its return in 2023, will also kick off on the Saturday.

"I think everyone's excited and a relief to have it come back and to have it in consecutive years it's pretty exciting for everyone, and for the juniors it has been a long time coming, so all the parents and schools and local organisations are all behind it," Adidi said.

The start of the season in Bamaga follows a successful opening to the Island Rooster Cup on Thursday Island, attracting big crowds to Ken Brown Oval on its return.

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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