Players from the North Coast Dolphins All Blacks have arrived in Townsville for a four day rugby league carnival for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
The open men’s team, comprising players from all over Queensland, almost didn’t make it to Townsville when a donation commitment fell through at the eleventh hour.
Less than a week out from the carnival, Club General Manager Troy Kennedy approached Queensland Country Credit Union with a request for funding.
“We had assembled a dream team, including 14 players from out of town, but needed $3,750 to pay for their accommodation expenses,” Mr Kennedy said.
“I really thought all hope was lost, but not wanting to let the team down I got on the phone to my local credit union branch at Aitkenvale and they came through for us,” he said.
“We’re so grateful to Queensland Country for their support, which I’m sure will deliver great outcomes for our players.
“The Murri Carnival is the biggest competition for prize money on an annual basis in Queensland. With so much coverage, we hope there’s an opportunity for some of our young men to be identified by a professional team.”
18 year old Cayless Motto is the youngest member of the North Coast Dolphins All Blacks and said he was excited to compete in the Murri Carnival for the first time.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase the raw talent of indigenous players, particularly those who live in remote and regional areas,” Mr Motto said.
“I live in Bowen where there aren’t any open rugby league teams, so I usually travel an hour each way to Proserpine to play,” he said.
“I have a lot of love for the game and am striving to make a career from it.”
Queensland Country Aitkenvale Local Manager Kylie Stewart said her team was proud to support the North Coast Dolphins All Blacks.
“We were more than happy to partner with the team after their funding fell through,” Ms Stewart said.
“Community is at the heart of everything we do at Queensland Country and we’ve injected over $2 million into community projects since 2005.”
This is the first year the Murri Carnival has been hosted outside of Brisbane. More than being just about rugby league, it’s one of the major health promotion events for indigenous Queenslanders.
All players must complete a health check as a requirement to participate, and it’s a smoke, drug, alcohol and sugar free event.
Spectators can catch a game at the Townsville Sports Reserve from 4-7 October.