An NRL initiative aimed at recruiting former defence personnel into officiating is set to give back to the communities along Flinders Highway during November.
The camp called "Go West", has been designed as part of the NRL Officiating program "Battlefields to Footy Fields" (B2F).
With joint funding from the QRL Northern Region, B2F is stopping in at Hughenden, Richmond, Julia Creek, Cloncurry and Mount Isa from November 24 to 30.
During their stay in each community, a League Tag community gala night will be played, with all members of that community being invited to come down and try the game at no cost, with a canteen being opened by each of the Junior League clubs within the town.
NRL Referee Development Officer for North Queensland, Michael Inman, said it was a perfect opportunity to have the match officials receive learning while integrating back with the local community.
"The Battlefields to Footy Fields program is an ideal vehicle to have our former Defence Force personnel integrate back in the community with the League Tag community days, while receiving on the spot training referee training from our referee educators," Mr Inman said.
During the camp each participant will receive further education on their own officiating pathway, along with accompanying school visitations during the day.
Local club involvement has been key to this, with Vicki Horton from Hughenden jumping on board straight away.
"Having this camp come through our region has given us an ability to engage with our community outside the normal Rugby League season," Ms Horton said.
Mr Inman said match officials would be exposed to a higher level of referee education material during the week learning about general officiating principles.
"Most of these match officials have been only officiating for a couple of months, and we see this as an opportunity to drill down further into their roles as match officials while giving them a platform to work into communities," he said. "Starting from Townsville and finishing as part of the North West Referees presentation night we hope to expose and help our B2F match officials to different aspects of the refereeing community."
League Tag Community Gala Nights (all 6pm):
Hughenden: Monday November 25 - Hughenden Showgrounds
Richmond: Tuesday November 26 - Richmond
Julia Creek: Wednesday November 27 - Kev Bannah Oval
Cloncurry: Thursday November 28 - Eddie Lee Field
Mount Isa: Friday November 29 - Rugby Union Ground
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