CROWDS GATHER FOR NRL GRAIL
It’s been tremendous and a just reward for all those years of loyal support.
CAMERAS clicked, footy fans swooned and jaws dropped – the Provan-Summons Trophy was in town.
Visiting junior rugby fans and the Proserpine Nursing Home on Saturday, before heading to the Reef Gateway Hotel on Sunday, the trophy really did paint the town blue, white and gold.
And accompanying the NRL Holy Grail on Saturday was Proserpine’s very own living legend, Paul Bowman.
Mr Bowman said it was “a very proud moment” to be back in town, trophy in hand.
“Growing up here and playing junior football in Proserpine, it’s really great to be able to come back here, bring the trophy and just see the joy and happiness in people’s faces,” he said.
“Obviously, even though we’re based in Townsville, we represent the whole of North Queensland.”
Acknowledging the tough times faced by many in his home town, Mr Bowman said it was great to see rugby league lifting people’s spirits.
“Having the Origin side here, I came down for that and that was a tremendous day,” he said.
“And then the local sides, the Brahmans, getting up in the Mackay competition in the A-grade and reserve grade.
“And then the Cowboys topping it off and winning the premiership for the region. It’s all sort of a culmination here today.”
The Cowboys great said he also hoped the visit would serve as inspiration for the next generation.
“Dreams can come true,” he said.
“You can be in a small town like Proserpine or any of the towns all over North Queens- land.
“So enjoy your footy and work hard and you can one day ultimately play for the biggest prize in rugby league in Australia.
“I think for the kids to see (the trophy), they can see that it’s possible.”
Proserpine Whitsunday Junior Rugby League president Kevin Young agreed.
“Paul, he followed his dream,” Mr Young said.
“These young fellas, if they keep off the bad side of the street, do everything right, they can follow their dream as well.”
The trip was also simply the chance for a good time, with fans still arriving to the reception two hours after it had begun.
“I think a lot of (the kids) were in awe of it,” he said.
“Even the kids that didn’t play league turned up.
“They just wanted to grab it, hold it and get a photo.
“I know I enjoyed getting a photo with it.”
With the trophy having visited dozens of sites across North Queensland, covering 20,000km, Mr Bowman said each visit had been important.
“It’s been tremendous and a just reward for all those years of loyal support,” he said.
“We’re based in Townsville, but we’re the North Queensland Cowboys and it’s just a massive footprint.”
TRIFECTA: Darcy Milne and Hayden Bradley got to handle not only the Provan-Summons Trophy, but the Brahman’s A-grade and reserve grade trophies as well.