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

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

WESTERN WEAR: Black­hawks play­ers Blake Leary and Fran­cis Molo model the spe­cial Win­ton- themed jer­seys the team will wear this week­end. Pic­ture: SCOTT RAD­FORD- CHISHOLM

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