Scouts seek rural stars
Broncos footy comp puts skills in focus
LEAGUE: The St George Rugby League club hosted the Broncos Western 9s competition at the weekend, with under-14 teams travelling from Roma and Charleville to compete in the round-robin game day.
The event, which is now in its 16th consecutive year, showcases and celebrates regional junior league talent, allowing the players to be seen by some of the best in the business.
The competition consisted of 15 nine-minute-half games, with six nine-a-side U14 teams travelling to the Rowden Park fields for a slice of the action.
The St George junior team entered the competition as the defending champions and fought hard to maintain their lead.
Though beating the winning team during their face-off, the St George side was pipped into third by the high level of competition and the round robin scoring system.
The Mitchell Magpies were crowned the new champions of the competition with a score of 15.5, the Carnarvon Cubs coming in a close second with 15.
The St George team showed heart on home soil, picking up a total score of 12.5 and snatching third place from the Charleville side.
Former Broncos and international player Jack Reed was the guest of honour on the day, presenting the lucky teams with their awards for sportsmanship and best play.
St George player Hayden Lawson was presented with the St George team player award, with Jacob Walters taking home the encouragement award for his team spirit.
Tournament co-ordinator Kelvin Bella said the event ran without a hitch.
“This kind of day is great for the whole area. St George have always hosted the event, which draws players from all over the south-west,” Bella said.
“The carnival ran to schedule and it was a huge success. The St George junior rugby league is really grateful for everybody’s help on the day.
“As co-ordinator of the event, I’d like to say thank you to everybody who participated, and in the future we’d like to see an even bigger and better two-day carnival in the region.”
Broncos game development manager Paul Dyer said the event was a great way to both promote the sport and scout for talent in regional communities.
“Every year that we visit the competition, the skill of the boys is of a really good standard.
“Although they don’t always receive the same opportunities as those living in city centres, they love their rugby league, they train hard and a lot of them are tough kids,” Dyer said.
“The Broncos invest just under a million dollars a year in game development in rural Queensland to help school and junior league clubs.
“We invest to provide opportunities.
“To find the next Lockyer or Beetson, we need to have more kids playing the game and more opportunities for them to shine.”
JOB WELL DONE: Former Broncos player Jack Reed presents the St George side with their awards for team play and encouragement.