Scouts seek ru­ral stars

Bron­cos footy comp puts skills in fo­cus

Balonne Beacon - - SPORT - Alexia Austin Alexia.Austin@west­ern­starnews.com

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.”

PHOTO: HENNY CASH

JOB WELL DONE: For­mer Bron­cos player Jack Reed presents the St Ge­orge side with their awards for team play and en­cour­age­ment.

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