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'The Axe' wields advice in Mount Isa visit

Junior players across Mount Isa got the chance to learn tackling from the master - Trevor 'The Axe' Gillmeister - in a visit to the northwest Queensland town last weekend.

The veteran of 22 State of Origin matches, FOG #51 was joined by fellow former Maroons forward John Buttigieg (FOG #119) providing guidance at a school visit, RISE camp and under 7 Tackle Ready session, made possible by Queensland Rugby League in partnership with Former Origin Greats (FOGS).

Gillmeister said he loved the opportunity to reconnect with the "rugby league mad" participants and fans in the bush.

"It was really good. I haven't been out there for a while, so it was good to get out there and mix with the country people and they couldn't do enough for you," he said.

"You can tell some of the kids can play, they just need that fine-tuning. But we just need to let the kids play, get out there and enjoy themselves and mix with all the other kids and just have fun.

"As I said to all the kids, a lot of them get a bit upset missing out on rep teams and that, but the majority of blokes who played State of Origin for Queensland never made rep teams as a kid, so don't let that worry you too much."

Tackling was a big focus for the former Roosters, Broncos, Panthers and South Queensland Crushers forward, still a passion of his being a "big issue" in the game.

He was even dishing out stories from in his career and even held a few tackling lessons by the bar after the A grade action on Saturday.

"It's 50 per cent of the game, and we don't spend enough time on it," Gillmeister said.

His advice: "Get one leg in front of the other before contact, so you can get your head out of the way. Don't have your feet side by side. Just have one leg in front of the other - whatever leg you prefer. I preferred opposite (leg to shoulder making contact), some people prefer same leg, same shoulder, but doesn't matter, as long as you got one leg in front of the other".

Gillmeister said he hoped to see more love for regional Queensland and was full of praise for people doing a "sensational job" facilitating rugby league.

QRL Mackay/Mt Isa area manager Jade Johnson, said the town was buzzing having Gillmeister and Buttigieg - the latter a member of the QRL North council and QRL Indigenous Advisory Committee - in their midst.

"The community loved it. Everyone had a nice weekend," Johnson said.

"The kids don't really know much about who they are, but the parents and grandparents, they appreciated it.

"I think it was well received by everybody and it can only get bigger and better."

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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