Win­ton’s coun­try league week re­ally goes to town

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMP­SON

WIN­TON thrives on rugby league, just like any other ru­ral com­mu­nity.

The lo­cal se­nior side – the Win­ton Devils – com­pete in the four- team Cen­tral West Rugby League com­pe­ti­tion, and while Satur­day’s Queens­land Cup clash be­tween the Townsville Black­hawks and Ip­swich Jets was the main game, the sup­port for the Devils cur­tain- raiser against the Il­fra­combe Scor­pi­ons was just as pas­sion­ate.

Win­ton’s Eric Len­ton Ground was packed, and Memo­rial the lo­cals were there hours be­fore the 6pm Queens­land Cup game for a day full of ju­nior matches and a show­down be­tween Char­ters Tow­ers schools All Souls St Gabriels and Black­heath & Thorn­burgh Col­lege.

The raw tal­ent on show and sheer love of the game made a mov­ing im­pres­sion on the Black­hawks squad, which spent three days in Win­ton and left yes­ter­day af­ter do­ing a tour of the town’s Aus­tralian Age of Di­nosaurs mu­seum.

“Giv­ing back to the coun­try com­mu­nity is re­ally im­por­tant be­cause the ru­ral area of Queens­land is a mas­sive part of rugby league,” Black­hawks sec­ond rower Blake Leary said. “It’s great to give some­thing and I hope we did.”

Black­hawks op­er­a­tion man­ager Adrian “Happy” Thom­son hails from Win­ton, as does St Ge­orge Illawarra player Kurt Mann.

For­mer Cow­boys and Queens­land State of Ori­gin player Matt Sing was also born in Win­ton, and the CWRL’s other com­pet­ing towns in­clud­ing Iflra­combe have pro­duced the likes of Matt Scott, Chris Grevs­muhl and Justin O’Neill.

Black­hawks coach Kris­tian Woolf said con­cepts like the Queens­land Cup’s Coun­try Week round were vi­tal to keep­ing ru­ral ar­eas con­nected with the rest of the rugby league com­mu­nity.

“We’ve had great ex­pe­ri­ences com­ing out to ru­ral ar­eas in the last two years, and it’s just the way you’re wel­comed and they way you’re looked af­ter that’s spe­cial,” he said.

“The county feel and coun­try at­mos­phere is unique, and they love turn­ing up to sup­port their team.

“It’s im­por­tant we sup­port them as well.”

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