Junior players tour to Blackall this weekend

DREAM TEAM: Connor Blythe (Townies), Zach Toby (Blackstars) and TJ Tapu (Wanderers) help make up the Mount Isa Outback Under 14 team, competing this weekend.
DREAM TEAM: Connor Blythe (Townies), Zach Toby (Blackstars) and TJ Tapu (Wanderers) help make up the Mount Isa Outback Under 14 team, competing this weekend.

A large contingent of junior rugby league players will travel to Blackall this weekend to compete at the annual Arthur Beetson Foundation Outback Junior Carnival. 

Under 14s coach Nigel Tremain said about 40 players will board a bus just before midnight on Thursday for the 750km journey south-east to Blackall. 

“We are leaving late on Thursday night so we can get some training in on Friday and there is also a get together on the Friday night,” Mr Tremain said. 

“The boys will play three games against other teams from across outback Queensland.”

Mr Tremain said the teens are excited for their road-trip this weekend and have been training hard in preparation. 

“We have had three training sessions together as a team and we have mostly been focusing on defence,” Mr Tremain said. 

“Now we are moving into attack and working on cohesion and getting used to playing with each other.

“The team is made up of players from Blackstars, Townies and Wanderers,” he said. 

The annual carnival honours Roma-born rugby league immortal Arthur Beetson. 

A major partner in this annual event is the Queensland Police Service.

The QPS hosts an event on the Friday night which concentrates on outback police recruitment to mainstream policing and stock squads.

Mr Tremain said the Outback Queensland Under 14, Under 16 and Under 18 representative teams will be chosen during the course of the weekend.

These teams will then travel to Coolum on the Sunshine Coast to compete in City-Country Cultural Exchange Carnival which takes place later in the year. 

“I think some of our players have a good shot of making the team,” Mr Tremain said. 

“The trip is a really great opportunity for the boys to get out of Mount Isa and play more competitive football.

“They get to learn new things and develop their skills a bit more,” he said. 

U14s captain TJ Tapu is eager to lead the team this weekend.

“It is a lot of pressure but I enjoy being captain,”Mr Tapu said.

“I am really excited and I think we will go alright.”