RUGBY LEAGUE BLACKHAWKS HIT OUTBACK ROAD
THE Townsville Blackhawks are ready to put on the biggest game of footy Winton has ever seen.
The Blackhawks play fierce rivals the Ipswich Jets in Winton this Saturday as part of the Queensland Cup’s Country Week round, which sees all Q Cup matches played in regional venues from Bamaga to Mundubbera.
Winton, famous for being the birthplace of Waltzing Matilda and Qantas, is about to be transformed into an outback hub of rugby league this weekend as the town’s Eric Lenton Memorial Ground receives the finishes touches ahead of hosting Saturday’s outback rugby league extravaganza.
Starting on Saturday morning with junior matches, the Blackhawks and Jets will hold coaching clinics before curtain- raisers get under way, starting with a schoolboys clash between Blackheath and Thornburgh College and All Souls St Gabriels, both of Charters Towers.
The Winton Devils will then play Ilfracombe Scorpions in a Central West Rugby League game, followed by the Q Cup showdown at 6pm.
Winton Mayor Butch Lenton said all systems were ready for the big day.
“There’s definitely a lot of excitement going around the town,” Lenton said.
“Both teams play the game with a lot of flair, and to have players of that quality coming here is just brilliant for the town rugby league.
“Economically it’s going to bring a really good benefit; accommodation is filling up and I’m sure the pubs will be full as well.
“We can’t them here.”
The Blackhawks will travel on a charter flight tomorrow afternoon and stay two nights in Winton, as will the Jets.
The Blackhawks and Jets clashed earlier this year in Ipswich, with the Blackhawks winning 39- 26, but Ipswich still made a few inroads with their razzle- dazzle style of play.
Games between the Blackhawks and Jets feature contrasting styles, with the Blackhawks game built on structure while the Jets chance their arm under the unorthodox system of coaches Ben and Shane Walker.
“It’s good to do a lot for rugby league here,” Lenton said.
“Not only do we get to watch a great game of rugby league, but throughout the weekend people will be able to meet with players and Queensland Rugby League officials.
“We want rugby league to be alive in the west, and it’s too easy to say it’s a bit hard.
“The class of players that have come from the Outback is fantastic, and we have a good little junior competition. Rugby league has been the major winter sport in Winton since the 1920s and although Longreach had to pull out of this year’s ( CWRL) competition we still have a good A- grade division.
“We can’t thank the QRL enough for giving us and other towns this opportunity.” and wait outback to have