The Spot Light - Joel Morgan

If the recent financial issues in rugby league show anything, its expansion bids vying for a place in the National Rugby League Premiership will need to demonstrate full proof of financial viability and strong grassroots relations. The CQ NRL Bid reiterated during the week “the number one criteria for expansion are VIABILITY and this will be even more heavily emphasised with the Titan’s issues. Our CQ NRL Team will be by far the most viable bid and have the most comprehensive development and community engagement programs in the NRL.”

These are not only issues shown in the NRL of late but on Tuesday, the Bradford Bulls over in the Super League they announced the club have 10 days to raise 500,000 pounds to save the club and £1 million overall to be totally safe, while in the first 48 hours they raised £100,000. Despite having a large population - this alone will not help a club, but being able to capitalise on a strong economy through strategies and business plans connected with a large grassroots and community movement!

Fact is Central Queensland will be an expansion club that has learnt from past issues with proven financial viability from day one, city to region population migration, loyal regional support, NRL bid programs already underway (not just future programs) and  large local influence (very important point) in order to strengthen community support and passion for the club. While debt problems associated with facilities in expansion will be eliminated with the State Government pledging full funding of the CQ Stadium, further upgrades to the CQ Leagues club, new Academy and new world-class swimming facility (stage 3 to be completed 2014)  only a few hundred metres from the leagues club. The stadium will be situated right near the Leagues Club that will help largely boost profits for the club itself and for grassroots rugby league in an area with no National Sport Team.

Women in League:

Women’s Rugby League officially kicks off in the Capricorn Region with a Rockhampton Rustlers Women’s side to play a “scratch match” at 12.30pm on Sunday acting as a curtain raiser exhibition to the Capras main game.

Intrust Super Cup:

Despite the one opening win and two heavy losses for the Capras they have maintained their home game crowd from Rockhampton into the Gladstone home match last weekend, which was said to be “close to 1000” in attendance. Typically Queensland Cup crowds range from 500 to 1500 on average. The home match is scheduled in Rockhampton against Ipswich Jets at 2pm.

Mackay won their first game of the season 30 to 28 against a strong North’s Devils outfit and now face Tweed Heads Seagulls at Virgin Australia Stadium in Mackay this Saturday at 3pm, their coach is former Rockhampton junior, NRL and Super League player Anthony Seibold who has been involved with the Welsh Rugby League National Team and professional clubs in the UK leagues before 2011.

Media Spotlight

 Paul Kent on the Sunday Roast last weekend provided the following call “I hear the most impressive bid out there is Central Queensland. As far as what they’ve got in place. They’re a dark horse; don’t leave them out of the picture just yet”. Perhaps the Daily Telegraph Senior Writer is a fan of the Spotlight after a similar call was made in last week’s blog? Ok maybe not, but it is based on substance. Patience is key!

 Local Leagues

 In the North District competition newcomers Agnes Waters Marlins maintain their undefeated start beating neighbours and reining premiers Miriam Vale Magpies 17 to 4 in the top of the table clash. While Avondale beat Gin Gin 50 to 14. The Bundaberg Rugby League Round was cancelled due to poor field conditions.

Mackay Rugby League kicks off with a Super Saturday including North’s against Magpies and West’s against Whitsunday at Proserpine. 2011 premiers Moranbah led by Josh Hannay will take on a strong Brothers outfit on Sunday. Souths take on Sarina atSharkPark.

Gladstone Rugby League launches this weekend with Gary Larson’s Tannum Sands Seagulls facing Mick Cartwright’s Gladstone Brothers for the Mark Murphy Shield. While Wallaby’s face traditional rivals GladstoneValleys. Calliope Roosters also feature in both top Grades.

The Central West teams continued their competitive start to the season with bottom placed Barcaldine registering a 34 all draw against top side Winton and Ilfracombe beating nearby rivals Longreach 26 to 16.

 Good to see the newly formatted 10 club Western Extended League to feature select teams from the Central West, Mid West and Mt Isa Leagues, including Longreach, Winton and Barcaldine(CW), Black Stars, Town & Wanderers (Mt Isa) and Cloncurry, Doomadgee, Hughenden and Normanton (Mid West). Possibly the most geographically spread regional competition in the world? The longest stretch is over 1,100 kms from Doomadgee to Barcaldine.

Surely Gladstone and Rockhampton can bring back the Challenge Cup an A-Grade and Reserve Grade format? Even invite Central Highlands! It would potentially combine the 10 Gladstone and Rockhampton senior clubs and 10 Central Highland’s senior clubs – make it a minimum 16 team knockout and just like the Western League club’s only those who are interested can commit! The Cup can be formatted into the separate regional splits save travel expenses with the top 4 progressing into the Semi-Finals.

Better yet an annual Central Queensland Rugby League 9’s – action packed 15 minute games with team’s from Mackay to the Burnett and west.

Rockhampton Rugby League action began with last year’s wooden spooner’s Fitzroy’s Sharks thumping 2011 premiers Yeppoon Seagulls 58 to 22 in their strong start to the season, while as predicted the strongly matched rivalry between Brothers and North’s continued with the clubs producing only an 11 points difference between their three senior sides, although the Fish taking the spoils in all grades. A four try effort by Anthony Toby was not enough as Brothers kicked a close range field goal in the final minutes to win 29 to 28.

 Where are they now?

 Peter-John Marsh, former Queensland Maroons representative played his final games at the Brisbane Broncos and Central Queensland QCup side in 2009 than forced to retire in early 2010 due to injury – thus starting and finishing his career with the Central Queensland representative side. PJ is now living in Blackwater and working at the mines in Central Highlands (his home region) and is apart of the CQ NRL Bid Mentor Program.

 Development Focus

 This week the CQ NRL Bid Community and Business Development Manager Walson Carlos spent time in Emerald with the QR National Schools program at seven schools within the area. Steve Bell - now a CQ NRL Bid Ambassador andMentorto a Scholarship holder was also involved in the development program in his home town. Walson rated a potential young star in the making with the nephew of Ben Hunt who is still in prep “carving up” atCometStateSchool.

Great to see Dave ‘Coal Train’ Taylor remembering some of his upbringing and showing his true passion for Central Queensland during his quick visit to Yeppoon during the week with his mention in the Morning Bulletin that he still keeps in contact with young St Brendan’s players that are progressing through he ranks and gaining contracts. Ironically a local business called the Coal Train now has him involved in a commercial for the mining training company.

A CQ NRL program is based on 70% player and staff involvement with a strong grassroots plan, large School based program (visiting over 120 schools per year) and elite Junior and Academy player Development. History says development of players coming through the club’s lower grade and junior systems will lead to strong community support and success on the field over time.

Flying back HOME?

The Spot Light has even been told recently that people are willing to move back to their home region when given an NRL team. One person stating to The Spot Light “You have me convinced that CQ will get in - and I really hope so, I’ll fly home regularly for games and would think of moving back home.”

NRL Focus

Hearing a young CQ based player is receiving interest from a southern NRL club for their first grade squad next season. Watch this space.

The Mackay connection? It has been reported Mackay Souths junior and current Grade 12 Mackay State High student, Jacob Gagai has trained several times the last 2 weeks at theBroncosAcademyafter a scout spotted him in a Capricornia trial. His brother Dane Gagai debuted in the NRL last season at the Broncos, while father, Ray was in the Broncos 1989 squad, while they are also the cousins of Josh Hoffman (Broncos Fullback) and Wendell Sailor.

1992 & 2012

 What meaning does it have? NQ Cowboys were approved for their license in November 1992 in what was deemed a surprise, while 20 years on CQ NRL Bid are looking to be accepted in the NRL. Similarities are uncanny so bring on this massive rivalry! The Bid is expecting three or four bids to be shortlisted by September.

They say what?

 It has often been suggested the club will find it hard to sign talented players – can’t be more wrong and that’s not what the Spotlight has heard.

With the club focused on development and recruitment from our own region player’s not from the big cities this will enable juniors to stay here. Although it has been proven NQ Cowboys attract talented young “import” singings outside NQ at a young age.

Inside Focus

Prepare to hear and see some groundbreaking exposure and progress for Central Queensland rugby league in coming months. Only one step will therefore remain, it’s our time!


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