Filippo Mele car­ni­val has been scor­ing goals for decades Ready for kick- off

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMPSON michael. thompson@ news. com. au

MORE than 450 of North Queens­land’s most promis­ing young foot­ball play­ers will to­day kick off the an­nual Filippo Mele Me­mo­rial Car­ni­val.

Brolga Park will play host to the five- day ju­nior foot­ball tour­na­ment fea­tur­ing teams from re­gions in­clud­ing North Queens­land, Cairns, John­stone River, Mackay and the Bur­dekin.

Named af­ter lo­cal foot­ball stal­wart Filippo Mele, who passed away in 2014, the car­ni­val is now in its 33rd year and has grown into one of Aus­tralia’s largest ju­nior foot­ball com­pe­ti­tions.

This year’s car­ni­val will fea­ture boys age groups from un­der- 9s through to un­der- 13/ 14s, and also a girls com­pe­ti­tion in un­der- 9 and un­der- 10/ 11 age groups.

North Queens­land Foot- ball devel­op­ment of­fi­cer Craig Per­fect said all sys­tems were in place for an ac­tion packed car­ni­val.

“There’s def­i­nitely go­ing to be a car­ni­val at­mos­phere out here, it’s al­ways a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s a step­ping stone for a lot of young play­ers and for many it’s their first ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing in rep­re­sen­ta­tive teams, so it means a lot to them.

“I think what’s ex­cit­ing is the fact they meet dif­fer­ent play­ers from other re­gions, play against dif­fer­ent styles of foot­ball and make friends along the way.”

The Townsville Mul­ti­cul­tural Sup­port Group will hold a four- team com­pe­ti­tion in con­junc­tion with the Filippo Mele car­ni­val, and a Politi­cians v Lo­cal Sports Stars game fea­tur­ing Cow­boys leg­end Matty Bowen is also part of the pro­gram.

Per­fect said the an­nual ju­nior show­piece was grow­ing stronger each year.

“Filippo was huge sup­porter of foot­ball in Townsville and he had a big pas­sion new for the game,” he said. “He loved watch­ing the kids play the game he loved, and we’re so proud to see the car­ni­val come all this way.

“It gives young play­ers from all re­gions a start­ing point and an op­por­tu­nity to get them­selves no­ticed as well. Who knows how far some of them might go with their foot­ball.”

First games kick off to­day at Brolga Park, Mur­ray Sports Com­plex, and run ev­ery day un­til fi­nal matches on Wed­nes­day.

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