CROWDS GATHER FOR NRL GRAIL

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

It’s been tremen­dous and a just re­ward for all those years of loyal sup­port.

–Paul Bow­man

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.

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