The Spotlight – CQ bleeds Maroon Success!

In the lead up to State of Origin 1, the natural blog to beginQueensland’s quest for 7 series in a row is to showCentral Queensland’s past and current success with Queensland Maroons from junior level to first grade.

Central Queenslandis the Heartland of Rugby League and with a production line like ours – why shouldn’t we have a team! I’ll finish off the blog with a Central Queensland Dream Team with many having great success at club, state and international level!

Central Queensland is so passionate about Rugby League and Queensland Maroons; our own Bundaberg Rum will be releasing the limited edition “Darren Lockyer Number 6 rum” this weekend inBrisbane(normally released at the distillery in Bundy).

2012 Queensland Maroon – Representative Selections

CQ juniors continue their strong representative success from mini-mods to Kangaroos with Blackwater Crushers product Dave Taylor selected on the bench and Matt Scott selected at Prop for the Queensland Maroons. However Daly-Cherry Evans and Dane Nielsen (both Mackay products) were selected as 18th Man and Shadow Player, respectively. Mal Meninga (from Monto, North Burnett) will be vying for his seventh straight series as a coach and his 14th total (despite missing 2 as a player due to injury). Ben Barba an unlucky non-selection, but clearly shows how strong theQueensland from junior to NRL star is currently.

State of Origin – Central Queensland has produced approximately 46 representatives forQueensland and NSW (yes, Ken Nagas from Bundy did play for NSW) since the annual clashes began in 1980!

Juniors Success

On top of the four recent selections in the QLD U16 side (plus three the coaching staff), Central Queensland has seen SIX players selected in the two Queensland U15 Schoolboy sides with Kellen Jenner (Mackay SHS), Alex Mather (Tannum Sands SHS) and Kalyn Ponga (Mackay SHS) selected in the QSS Maroon and Jye Del Simone (Mercy College – Mackay), Daniel Kirk (Xavier CC - Hervey Bay) and Lachlan Lanskey (Shalom College – Bundy), while Mackay SHS’s Jim Wilson was selected as a QSS Maroon Trainer. Widebay would be feeling a bit “hard done” with only two selections despite finishing third compared withBrisbaneschools. Wide bay and Capricornia (fourth) finished off the carnival with a great CQ display – Capricornia were in front 28 to 12 at half time and Widebay managed to win 30 to 28!

Walkerston Wanderers JRLC (near Mackay) won its first major junior trophy winning the Reggie Matthews Trophy after only one loss from 10 games at the Gorden Tallis Cup earlier in May. Emerald Tigers lost in the Jannita Dunn Memorial Shield Final.

QRL Local Leagues

Rockhampton: Fitzroys-Gracemere Sharks haven’t won the local competition close to 25 years and have had three lean seasons, but are now sitting pretty at the top of the Rockhampton Seniors Rugby League A-Grade competition. Could it be there year?

Brothers and Norths Chargers continue their 90 year rivalry this weekend with their two A-Grade sides producing only a three point difference from their two matches so far, but with Brothers taking both nail biting games. Norths will look to bounce back from a tough loss with some players returning, while former CQ Comets player (retired end of 2011) Dallas Williams will likely make his comeback at local league level with Norths tomorrow.

League Leaders:

WESTERN: Cloncurry and Normanton – 4    (Central West – Winton, Mid-West – Doomadgee & Mt Isa – Town)

MACKAY - Souths and Norths - 10
GLADSTONE – Valleys (Like Fitzroys will look to win their first title in a long period)                                                                                                                                             ROCKHAMPTON – Fitzroys-Gracemere
CENTRAL HIGHLANDS – Emerald Tigers (last years wooden spooners lead the comp)   BURNETTS – (Central) – Mundubbera & Miriam Vale & Avondale (Northern)                                           BUNDABERG - Hervey Bay

Women in League:

Bundaberg Region’s Natalie Gala, Nicole Curtis, Amber Saltner, Christi-May Chapman and Norita Nelliman, along with Capricorn’s (Rocky & Gladstone) Casey Watkin Amanda Ohl, Kara Moore and Andrea Brennan were selected in the Central Division Women’s side for the State Championships on June 1 in Ipswich

Gladstonehas a Women in League Round at Marley Brown Oval tomorrow from 3pm withCentral Highlands(Peak Downs Pirates), Rockhampton (Norths Chargers) and Gladstone Raiders battling it out over three matches, while Gladstone Brothers play Tannum Sands Seagulls in Reserve and A-Grades.

Intrust Super Cup:

 This Sunday, the Mackay Cutters play Sunshine Coast away, while the Capras play a heavily Titans boosted Tweed Heads side at Browne Park (Rockhampton) at 2pm – the lead up matches are: 10:30am - U16 Semi Final Norths vs. Brothers Blue and Noon - U18 Semi Final Yeppoon Gold vs. Yeppoon Blue.

The last two weeks Capras posted 25-22 comeback against Burleigh Bears and last week after being 18 points down at one stage, got within four against the Devils. Mackay lostIpswichand had a win over Souths-Logan, but currently sit fifth on the ladder.

CQ NRL Bid Update:

The Bid was in Mackay this week to checkout the Virgin Australia Stadium again with a report that they may use the stadium as a possible in future. The Bid says if they had to enter the NRL in 2014, Stadium Mackay would be looked at (only precautionary to make sure absolutely everything is catered for). But the stadium would be expected to have NRL and NYC trials in future, at the very least along with other CQ regions.

Tweet of the Week:

“NRL team In Central Queensland by 2015!! Spoken today from horses mouth - @BeefAus2012‘s Geoff Murphy & CQNRLBID CEO Dennis Keeffe”

Central Queensland vs. South East for NRL Expansion?

“Brisbane Bombers bid chief Craig Davison expressed shock at the limited number of NRL games in Brisbane.”We talk about Queensland being the leading rugby league state, I’ve got more of a chance of seeing an AFL or union game than an NRL game,” (Courier Mail)

They have said there is a better chance of watching an AFL or Super 15 game in Brisbaneand very minimal from 4th May to 18 June. Well the SPOTLIGHT says try ZERO NRL games most years and From April 27 until June 25 – the South East will actually have 8 NRL matches and 1 SOO game, hardly minimal rugby league? With multiple Queensland Cup matches also every weekend. Is that really a “virtual NRL blackout during the next six weeks”?

Gagai Gone?

Dane Gagai has been dropped by the Broncos and has been asked to look around for another club. Perhaps another reason why Central Queensland needs a club? Young players becoming homesick without family support within close proximity!
Several media source even mentioning a strong chance of a potential code switch, with his manager not ruling it out. Could he join notable code swappers - South Burnett boy Berrick Barnes and ‘Rockhampton Rocket’ Rod Davies in the fifteen man game? All three have played both codes as juniors and taken opportunities away from CQ with PrivateBrisbane based schools offering scholarships. Let’s hope he stays with Rugby League!

Did you know?

Frank Fisher was the Widebay Centenary Five-Eighth fromCherbourg. Representative opportunities were scarce in times when Aboriginals within the mission community had to permission just to leave the region and often rejected. “English captain, Jim Brough, was reported as saying that “Fisher was the best country player the Englishmen had encountered.” On Brough’s recommendation, Fisher was offered a contract to play club Rugby League inSalford,Englandbut the Queensland Government refused his application to travel.” Described as the “Aboriginal Wally Lewis”. Was captaining theCherbourg(formerly Barambah) side from the early 1930’s until 41 years old in 1946.

CQ’s “Queensland Dream Team”

 How is this for a Greatest CQ team to pull on the Queensland jumper? A fair few tough choices with competition on the wings, back row, props and second centre!

FB – Ray Laird (Mackay) – 19 matches for QLD – spent 9 seasons in Mackay and Rocky

WG - Dale Shearer (Sarina) – Prolific Try Scorer with 12 tries in 26 QLD matches and 13 tries in 21 matches forAustralia

WG – Matt Sing (Dysart) - 24 QLD & 15 AUS test. 159 Career tries in Australia(5th ranked overall) and over 316 NRL and ESL matches

CE – Mal Meninga (Monto) - 13 winning SOO series as player and coach, ARL Team of the Century Centre, soon to be IMMORTAL?
CE – Steve Renouf (Murgon) – QLD (11) and AUS (10) – 182 Club Career Tries in NRL & ESL, Indigenous Team of the Century, and 2000 RLWC Winner

HB - Cyril Connell Jnr (Rockhampton) - 24 matches for QLD, 2 Test for Aus (another 10 tour matches)

5/8– Steve Crear (Rockhampton) – 10 QLD matches & 1977 RLWC selection

PR – Duncan Hall (Rockhampton), an automatic choice being an ARL Team of the Century Prop

HK – Jason Hetherington (Baralaba) – 8 QLD matches and 2 Tests forAustralia

PR – Martin Bella (Sarina) – over 300 First Grade matches (BRL and NSWRL/NRL), 21 QLD matches, 9 AUS tests

SR – Gary Larson (Miriam Vale) – 24 consecutive matches for QLD, 9 Tests forAustralia, and 250 NRL Matches

SR – Elton Rasmussen (Mackay) – 15 QLD, 15 AUS (7 NSW). 5 titles with St George Dragons 1962-66. 1868 RLWC winner

LK - Col Weiss (Bundaberg) - played in 28 QLD matches & 3 Aus Tests

“Devastating Player, A Great Cover Defender And Attacking Player With His Side Step A Feature Of His Game. Played For Bundaberg, QLD And Represented Australia From Bundaberg. He Was A Member Of The 1966 State Champions Team. Col Was Renowned For His Physical fitness.”

 What a champion side that would be! A very fast backline, aided with Meninga’s rampaging influence, combined with one of the toughest forward pack’s the game would ever see!

The TOUGHEST (unlucky) choices I thought were:

Rhys Wesser for FB (long career & top try scorer) but limited QLD opportunities, Rod Reddy (a great career but 1 QLD game due to 13 with NSW - residency rule before 1980), John Wittenberg at Prop, Tom Tyquin (SR/LK – 16 QLD and 6 AUS – 57’ RLWC Winner), Bill Spencer, Noel Hazzard at Centre (12 QLD, 13 AUS), Wendell Sailor, Ian Thinee, Steve Jackson, Noel Gallagher, Frank Fisher and many others!

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