Ju­niors go large for 50th birth­day

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT - By Dane Lilling­stone

IF THERE’S one thing peo­ple as­so­ciate the Proser­pine Whit­sun­day Ju­nior Rugby League club with, it’s com­mu­nity.

No mat­ter who you speak to, whether it’s ju­nior club pres­i­dent Kevin Young or Cow­boys leg­end Paul Bow­man, or some­one sit­ting on the side­line on a Satur­day morn­ing, they all say it’s the com­mu­nity that makes the club great.

This week­end they will cel­e­brate an in­cred­i­ble 50 years with a spe­cial re­union din­ner, head­lined by Bow­man, and a fam­ily day that will re-visit old ri­val­ries and look to­wards the next 50 years.

Pres­i­dent Kevin Young said the suc­cess of the club wouldn’t be pos­si­ble with­out the help of the peo­ple be­hind the scenes.

“We’re just thank­ing the whole com­mu­nity, from sub­con­trac­tors to lo­cal fam­i­lies that have helped con­trib­ute to the club over the years to help get it to where it is to­day,” he said.

“There’s a lot of fam­i­lies that do stuff be­hind the scenes. They’ve all just helped out.”

Based on their sup­port, Mr Young said he was more than con­fi­dent in the club’s fu­ture. But will they make it to 100? “I hope they do. They will. This club is too strong. They’ll keep go­ing for many, many years,” he said.

Bow­man is the big­gest suc­cess story to come from the club and he will re­turn to where it all be­gan this week­end.

He moved to Proser­pine around 1980 as a tod­dler and joined the lo­cal club the first chance he got, play­ing for the un­der-9s.

“It was the first age group they had,” he said.

The for­mer Ma­roons centre started as a seven-year-old and played for the club un­til un­der-11s, when he was moved to a board­ing school.

“I used to play when I came home on school hol­i­days,” he said.

Bow­man’s mem­o­ries from those early days weren’t from play­ing foot­ball it­self.

“It was good fun trav­el­ling away to games. There were plenty of road trips,” he said. Bow­man would go on to play seven games in the Cow­boys’ in­au­gu­ral year, even­tu­ally play­ing more than 200 games.

This week­end the club will cel­e­brate its his­tory while also look­ing to­wards the next 50 years.

The of­fi­cial open­ing of their new club house is solid step for the fu­ture of the club.

The new fa­cil­ity will give the club a chance to host first aid and ref­eree clin­ics, as well as a video room to re­view games and drills as well as dis­play­ing mem­o­ra­bilia and tro­phies.

Tick­ets for the Fri­day night re­union can be bought at the door, with Mr Young say­ing it would be the per­fect place to lis­ten to a few sto­ries.

Then on Satur­day, the club will host an en­tire day of matches and an evening of ac­tiv­i­ties for the kids, fea­tur­ing a spit roast, live band and me­chan­i­cal bull.

Photo: Peter Car­ruthers

MILE­STONE: Kay­ley Douth­waite, Daniel Moller, Darcy Milne, Daniel An­der­son, Finn Com­passi, Xavier De­brin­cat, Will Turner, Ko­han Mav, Max Wat­son, Tael­lum Friend, Becky Lit­tle, Braith Tet­ley, Mur­ray Hin­ton, Kyneen Ste­fani, Dario Rai­teri with (front) Dy­lan and Ethan Hoff­man of the Proser­pine Ju­nior League at train­ing on Thurs­day.

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