Cloncurry will be buzzing with rugby league this weekend as the Arthur Beetson Foundation Shield Northern v Southern Queensland Outback Junior Challenge Carnival comes rolling into town.
Now in its very successful seventh year, the carnival heads to Cloncurry for the first time, after originally being held at Winton, which in 2011. Other venues that have held the carnival throughout the last five years have been Longreach, Barcaldine, Mount Isa, Charleville before being staged again back at Winton last year.
The Arthur Beetson Foundation Shield is an important stepping stone for many aspiring young footballers.
For the second year the carnival has received sponsorship for the event.
It is indeed fitting that an icon of Queensland, Australian and bush footy, Arthur Beetson, has his name attached to the trophy.
Other major sponsors and supporters of this years's carnival have been the Cloncurry Shire Council, Elliott Transport & Plant Hire Pty Ltd (Cloncurry), EHM Glencore (Ernest Henry Mine) and Discovery Park (Cloncurry), along with Commins Contracting Pty Ltd (Cloncurry) and Western Labour Hire (Cloncurry) as the sponsors of the Northern Outback Invitation A Grade side.
The Carnival will be one of the Cloncurry Shire Council's Major Marquee Events as it celebrates Cloncurry Celebrating 150 years (C150) and the town has a rich and proud rugby league tradition with the Eagles the reigning premiers of the MIRL competition.
For this carnival the Queensland Police Service and the QRL have joined forces to promote the opportunities in country Queensland for both young men and young women.
The Queensland Police Service also faces challenges in the attraction and retention of police officers and support staff working to serve rural and remote communities and see opportunities to recruit people “from the bush to work in the bush.”
In discussions with the QRL Outback Advisory Committee about recruitment and crime prevention issues, the QPS recognised a great opportunity to engage with communities using QRL events as an entertainment platform to attract people to enjoy the games and take the opportunity to meet one on one with SARCIS, Police Recruiting and Crime Prevention officers.
Inspector Mick Dowie said the idea was developed and has received the support of Commissioner Ian Stewart and QRL Board who recognised both organisations provide for “many backgrounds, many pathways and many opportunities” to rural and remote farming communities and they support police face to face community engagement with our QRL partners at these events.
The police team will play the Northern Outback Invitation team, drawn from the local Mount Isa competition.
The QPS team arrived into Cloncurry Thursday, after successfully winning the Australian Police Rugby League Carnival last weekend in Townsville.
They will conduct school visits and clinics on Friday accompanied by NRL Game Day Development officers, QRL officials and Carnival "Special Guest", Stephanie Hancock (Jillaroo and Captain of the Queensland Women's Rugby League team) and current serving Queensland Police Officer.
The carnival will include sides from under 14, under 16 and under 18 competing to take home the shield.
This carnival is a breeding ground for many young players who reach higher-levels; one of the many players to come from this carnival has been Coen Hess (formerly from the Black Stars Junior Club in Mount Isa), Coen played as a 15 year old at the inaugural Carnival at Winton in 2011.
Coen is now one of the most promising players in the NRL playing for the NQ Cowboys and a member of the Emerging Queensland Origin squad, with many good judges tipping an Origin debut very soon.
The Northern Outback teams are players that compete in the Mount Isa Junior Rugby League competition, as well as Cloncurry and Normanton based boys, whilst Southern Outback teams are selected from players from Winton to Roma.
At the end of the carnival, Queensland Outback Under 14’s, Under 16’s and Under 18’s Representative teams will be selected.
Those selected in 14’s, 16’s and 18’s teams will travel to Coolum for the Glyn Rees Cultural Exchange City-Country Carnival.
That is on the weekend of June 23-25.
The much appreciated sponsorship and support of The Maintenance Company from the Sunshine Coast (Coolum) and Elliott Transport & Plant Hire Pty Ltd (Cloncurry) has allowed for lower player-levies for those selected.
8.30am - UNDER 14's
9.35am - UNDER 16's
10.40am - UNDER 18's
11.45am - Northern Outback "Invitation" A Grade vs Queensland Police Representative Team
1.20pm - UNDER 14's
2.25pm - UNDER 16's
3.30pm - UNDER 18's