By Casey O’connor

Rugby League tragics have been given a small taste of the delights headed their way in the 2017 NRL season.
The Auckland Nines threw up an unexpected winner in the Roosters, however the talent on show in the series suggests we are in for another exciting and closely contested season.
Last Friday’s All Stars game was very one sided with an under strength World All Stars outclassed by the razzle dazzle of JT’s Indigenous All Stars. This weekend there are several trial games and the World Club Challenge in the UK.
Rugby League more than any other football code is facing huge challenges over the next couple of years as it fights for its market share of players and supporters as well as the almighty dollar.
With that in mind, it was interesting this week to receive a copy of the widely acclaimed rugby league book Celebration of Our Game written by Steven Haddan. The books tracks the history of the Brisbane Rugby League competition from 1909-1987 – the highs and lows of the once-great competition which was the pride of Queensland Rugby League.
The foreword was written by the current Chairman of the ARL Commission John Grant. Grant’s own position at this time is under threat from within.
The opening chapter is unsurprisingly penned by who other than Wally Lewis. Lewis’ observations and recollections are an interesting read.
He finishes his chapter with these wise words, “The history of the BRL must never be forgotten. My friend Steve Haddan has seen to that. This is a fantastic book. It’s for those who remember and those who need to know how it all started.”
That is so true. To move the game forward successfully we must never overlook or forget what has made the sport “the greatest game of all”
– Casey
The Border League Rugby League competition is facing another hurdle with the TRL advising they will no longer be able to provide referees for BRL games. For several seasons the BRL has relied heavily on TRL referees and their own problems with referee numbers they have advised BRL chairman Norm Crisp that the BRL will have to go it alone this season.
It is a situation that puts the BRL season in jeopardy with only one registered referee in the area, Ray Sergeant from Tenterfield.
Crisp is calling on referees whose accreditation has run out and can be updated with a one-day course or prospective referees keen to do a full course to step forward.
Crisp is also suggesting some of the younger referees who currently do junior games might be able fill the void. Perhaps, it is time for some of the recently retired players to step up to the plate and get their ticket to help keep this competition afloat.
Two referees are required each week to officiate at the BRL fixtures with the clubs supplying suitably qualified linesmen for each game.
This situation could derail the BRL and Crisp has been quick to assure any prospective referees that there will be no tolerance of referee abuse from supporters or players.
With the BRL Round Robin only weeks away, this is a very serious situation for the competition. Crisp urges anyone interested to call him on 0418 716 591.
The Warwick Cowboys kick off their pre-season this weekend with a trial game at Fr Ranger Oval On Saturday against Aspley. The A Grade game kicks off at 6.30pm as the Cowboys build toward what they hope will be another successful season despite the loss of several players in the off season.
Registrations for the 2017 are still open and prospective players are welcome at the Cowboys training session on Tuesday and Thursday nights. The 2017 coaches are Craig Mullaly (A-grade), Nick Baker (reserve grade) and Matt Grew for the under-18s.
Cowboys will play two more pre-season games before the TRL season opens. The annual Barrett Shield game between the Cowboys and Wattles has been scheduled for 4 March.The following week the Cowboys will play Killarney in the Xylon Smith Memorial game.
On Saturday the Warwick Turf Club will partner with St Mary’s School Warwick and Raheen Stud and Magic Millions when they host the St Mary’s School Warwick Race Day.
Gate numbers are expected to be boosted as members of the St Mary’s School community get behind the big day.
Not all of the action will be on the track with merry go round, jumping castle and a slide sure to keep the youngsters entertained. There will also be face painting snow cones and lots more for the kids. Thirteen sponsors have come on board to ensure the kids have a great day at Allman Park.
There is also over $800 in prize money up for grabs for the Fashions on the Field. There are categories for women and men and also boys and girls.
The St Mary’s P&C have organised sponsors for each of the six races on the program.
Major sponsors of the race day are the Magic Millions Sale who is sponsoring the Benchmark 50 event. Twelve nominations have been received for the event with local trainers Michael Hemmings and Gary Osborne nominating their gallopers So Choosy and Remisso. Lucky Three Sons trained on the Beaudesert track by Gordon Cornish is an interesting runner in this race. The five-year-old is returning from a spell but ran a good second in a trial at Deagon on Tuesday morning and there will be plenty of punters keeping an eye on hm.
Malt House one of the new race day sponsors will partner with Raheen Stud to sponsor the Benchmark 60 Handicap.
The race has attracted 10 nominations and is sure to be closely contested. Toowoomba trainer Michael Nolan has nominated Major Scoop a winner in Toowoomba two starts back. Another with good form is Oakey trainee d Our Clarky who won a 1650m race in Toowoomba at his last start a month ago. Another sure to have plenty of following is Redammour who was a winner at Allman Park on Boxing Day.
Sponsors of the remaining four races include Kerry Scanlan Concreting, concrete suppliers Hanson, Brownlie Concreting, R and F Steel Buildings and McNally Constructions.
Nominations for the Open Handicap were extended until 9am Wednesday, but nominations for all other events have been good.
Gates open at Allman Park at 11am. Entry is $15 for adult and children under 16 are free. Tickets are available at the gate.
In spite of the fierce heat, there was another great turn out at Sporters on Sunday. Terry Roser revelled in the conditions to win the day with Norm Steele, runner-up. Paul Byrnes had the Best Gross and collected the pin shot at the third. Matt Waterworth and Angelo Maugeri both figured in the rundowns. Paul Armstrong collected the pro pin and added a meat tray to his winnings. Dick Hilton made sure the other meat tray went to a good home.
Organisers of the Maureen Bates Memorial Day will have a date for the annual game in the near future, so keep an eye for the announcement.
For the uninitiated Sporters tee off on Sunday mornings between 7.30 and 8.30am, first time players and visitors are always made feel welcome.
Scots College is the venue for the final summer street orienteering event which will be held this Sunday. The event had been set down for last Sunday however due to the extreme temperatures organiser, the Bullecourt Boulder Bounders club rescheduled.
Liz Bourne the publicity officer for Bullecourt Boulder Bounders said that this discipline of orienteering combined running with precise navigation in a complex urban environment with competitors having to work their way around the buildings and through the network of paths, gardens and sporting fields.
“A special colour orienteering map of the school has been produced by the club for the event, and three street orienteering courses are being offered plus an easy course for kids around the school.”
Ms Bourne said, “Local junior orienteer, Caleb Fidge, has set the courses for the event and he promises an interesting challenge for navigators and runners.”
The event is expected to attract not only members of the Bullecourt Boulder Bounders club but also local runners who have been competing in the recent street orienteering events as well as students and boarders from Scots College.
Ms Bourne said the club welcomed the participation of any locals who would like to try orienteering. No special gear is required and compasses may be borrowed at the event.
The event will start near the tennis court at the college on Oxenham Street with starts between 4 and 5pm. The entry fee is $5 and families are welcome to go around together.
For further information, contact 4683 6374 or go to www.oq.asn.au/events
The temperature down on the Inglewood Sporting Shooters range last weekend was none to pleasant 46c and it did not take long for the barrels to warm up and there was some very cool shooting performances throughout the day.
Glen Homes of Yetman took out the Single Action competition, outscoring Inglewood shooters Rochelle and Jodi Bynon who filled the minor placings.
In the Rimfire event, Ross Jackson of the Range put in a good performance and defeated Stephanie and Ray Dudgeon.
On Sunday, the club has scheduled Muzzle Loading events and centrefire Benchrest. Visitors are most welcome to join the action on the range at Bosniak Road, Inglewood.
Stanthorpe golfers turned out in numbers last Saturday to play in the Stroke event sponsored by Matt and Nikki Waterworth. Heat stroke could easily have been on the cards, but the big field managed the outrageous conditions well but none better than Ian Pickering who produced the low round of the day. His nett 66 was good enough to give him a one shot win over Graham Tonkin and Ron Batterham who both returned nett 67. Graham Tonkin got the nod after a countback leaving Batterham to take a share of the run downs.
Aaron Simmers was on song at the third, collecting the pin shot while Graham Tonkin did best at 12. David Reeves had the best tee shot at 17 and shared the birdies nest with the day’s winner, Ian Pickering, at the first. Pro pins went the way of Mick O’Brien (1/10); Wes Smith (5/14) and John Spiller (9/18).
In the run down, Richard Reardon (69), Matt Waterworth (70) and Bob Watts (70) each collected a ball in the run downs.
Rachael Hendry returned nett 69 after scoring 87 off the stick. Kay Webb continues to show good form, and her nett 73 was good enough to claim second place. Nita Thouard held the ladies’ pin at three, and Margie Locke the best approach at 17. In the run down, Margie Locke and Nikki Waterworth each picked up a ball.
This Saturday everyone will be hoping for more pleasant conditions for the single stableford which will be sponsored by the Stanthorpe Hello World Travel Agency. A time sheet for the event is on the board. Tee off is from 11.30am, time sheet is on the board and hopefully some cooler weather might prevail.
The fifth and penultimate round of the Tanny Classic was decided last Friday night. Forty bowlers rolled up to put themselves in the running for the prizemoney. Of course, the evening was peppered with plenty of sledging, heaps of laughs and of course there was even some good bowls played and some let’s just say interesting bowls. The winners were Venus “Ole-Gal” Smith, Lloyd Johnson, Don Coulten and Tuck. Runners-up were Jamie Gardiner, Shep, Lorna T and Jimbo Rickard. In third place was the team of Vic “Ole Fella” Nelson, V.B. and Darren Rabbit.
Full results last week: Kushla Reddington, Maria Macca, Myrtle and Grumpy had a 14-8 win over Brent Macca, Gazza Amos, Brett Grayson and Johno Johnson had no answers for Vic Nelson, Veronica Banditt and Darren Rabbit had a convincing 15-8 win over Shaun Kelly, Jimbo lamb, and T.B.15-8 win.
Overall winners Venus, Lloyd Johnson, Don Coulten and Tuck could not have more impressive winning in their 17-4 over Geanie Lambert, Hamish Hoffman Walshy and Pedro Gynther.
Other big winners were James Gardner, Shep Lorna T ad Jimbo who defeated Wayne Petersen, Fritzy, Marg T and Ant Butz 17-9
Leonie Rickard, Richy Tartan, Sue Butz and Aaron had a closer win over Michelle Amos, Geoff Farmer, Geoff Davis and Mick O’Leary – the final score 12-10.
After five rounds, the leader board has Tuck leading the pack with 15 points. Hot on his heels is Venus with 14 and still in with a chance is Jimbo Rickard (10). Back on 10 points are Vic, Lorna, Marg T and Geanie Lambert. Back down the ladder on nine points are Shep, Pete Gynther and Myrtle.
With the final round and the winner to be decided on Friday night it looks like the winner will come from Jimbo, Venus and Tuck, however there will be plenty of others who will fight to the final end to get up in the prizemoney.
The Tanny Classic has been a great concept. Good luck to everyone on Friday night.
It was hard to miss players, officials and supporters of the Stanthorpe United Redbacks Football club last Saturday at their sign on day in the Stanthorpe Piazza.
Lending his support was recently appointed director of Coaching Richard “Mr Magic” Mitchell. Mitchell’s involvement in the game as a player coach and most recently development officer spans many decades.
Now retired, Mitchell is living on the Southern Downs and on Saturday it was evident that his enthusiasm and passion for the game are as strong as ever.
He is no stranger to Stanthorpe Football and says he is excited about his involvement and looking forward to the challenges of the upcoming season. Mitchell’s role will be very hands on throughout the season as he works to develop both coaches and players from Under 6 through to the senior men’s team to realise their full potential.
“United are a well organised club with good people involved. “They are very passionate about football and they have the game and their kids at heart – I have known many of the members for many years now, and I am keen to work with the coaches and players in 2017”.
Mitchell’s appointment is part of the club’s long term plan have coaches gain experience now with an eye to the future.
Although the Stanthorpe Football season does not commence until after Easter – United are preparing for the season with preseason games and club functions already organised.
The senior teams commenced training a fortnight ago, and their junior colts and fillies are back into training tonight (Thursday).
The club has games pre-season games against USQ Toowoomba scheduled for their men’s and ladies teams. The games will be played on 25 February in Stanthorpe. Players and officials alike are looking forward to the club’s traditional preseason camp at Yamba early in March. There will be games for the 13/14s, ladies and men’s teams.
President Brian Westerhout said he was excited about the upcoming season. “The club has a fantastic committee and our coaches have been appointed. “We are lucky to have the experience of Richard Mitchell and Frank Arcidiacono on board, and have retained Steve McEvoy as coach of the men and senior colts. The club is looking forward to a fun year of football.”
Stanthorpe United invites players of all ages to join their club. Westerhout said, “We recently heard that Warwick Wolves are unable to field a Ladies team in the Toowoomba competition this year. “It is very unfortunate. “When Warwick played in the Stanthorpe Ladies competition they had a strong number of players on their books. “If there are any girls in Warwick looking to play Football, we invite them to come down and play for our club – even if it is only until Warwick are able to field a Ladies team again.”
Westerhout said it was imperative that country clubs worked together for the good of the sport/game.
Last weekend cricket in many centres across Queensland was cancelled due to the unprecedented heat conditions, but with temperatures smashing records cricket went ahead across the Southern Downs.
As the mercury soared on Saturday afternoon, Colts and Inglewood went head to head at Slade Oval.
Batting first Colts set the visitors a big run chase, scoring 249 despite losing a couple of early wickets. Lachlan Gross battled the heat and the Inglewood bowlers. His good form continues and he top scored with 137. Cam Petersen also played well scoring 68. Conditions were tough for bowlers and Apted finished with the best figures for Inglewood taking 5/31. In reply, Inglewood were dismissed for 157.
When the Inglewood batsman came to the crease they found the Colts bowlers almost as hot as the temperature. Kev Poole was the main destroyer for Colts taking three wickets for two runs. Almost as good was the performance of Geoff Thorley who finished 3/15. Apted backed up his performance with the ball, top scoring with 63 for Inglewood. Steve Hooper scored 29 and Jamie Smith remained 38 not out as Inglewood were dismissed for 157.
In an upset at Allora Railway Hotel, Rascals dismissed 2016 premiers Wheatvale for a moderate total of 151. Openers Carter Billborough 41 and Chris Malone 40 set up a good platform for their team but Rascal’s Jamie Holmes ripped through the remaining batting line-up in an awesome bowling display. In five overs and two balls, Holmes cleaned bowled five victims and had one caught behind, finishing with six wickets for the addition of only seven runs as Wheatvale capitulated. The only other Wheatvale player to reach double figures was James Breen who scored 19.
Chasing small totals is often dicey, but no doubt inspired by their bowlers the Rascals batsmen did not take long to pick up the required runs passing the Wheatvale total in only the midway through the 26th over losing seven wickets along the way. Best of the Rascal’s batsmen was Jake Christensen who top-scored with 60.
Carter Billborough backed up his performance with the bat leading the wicket takers with figures of 3/26. James Breen and Alex Fessey each took two wickets, but Rascals were in control for most of this game.
On the Queen’s Park Turf on Saturday, Allora defeated Sovereign Animals. Top scoring for Allora was Gav Scheiwe with 36 and Mitch McLennan 24 in their score of 6/133. Cahil Davis took four wickets for Animals. Kiernan and Henderson were the best of the Allora bowlers.
In a weekend that saw several upsets in the Warwick Cricket fixtures, Redbacks dealt competition front runners Maryvale their first loss of the season.
The Sunday game at Slade had plenty of highlights and remarkable performances from players from both teams. Rarely do you see bowling performances where one blower takes a hat-trick and another bag of five wickets in a losing side, but that was the case in the exciting game between Maryvale and Redbacks.
Redbacks were restricted to 160 runs due to a fine bowling performance from youngster Keiran Bourke who took five wickets in an innings for the first time. Coen Slatter (62) and Jamie Saunders (46) set up a good batting partnership for Redbacks, but that was almost overshadowed by the bowling performances of the young Maryvale bowlers. Will Gordon picked up a hat-trick when he cleaned bowled one batsman and then had two LBW decisions go his way in successive deliveries. His figures 3/3 from four overs.
Redbacks had Maryvale on the back foot from the first over when opener Pat Bourke was dismissed after Sam Waetford showed all of his class taking a fine slips catch. Maryvale never looked comfortable, and the Redbacks bowlers had the upper hand from the get go. In a fine team performance in the field from Redbacks, Maryvale were dismissed for only 104. Jason Steketee 24 Mick Bourke 26 and Tom Bourke 20 were the only batsmen to show resistance.
Coen Slatter backed up his performance with the bat taking 2/29 from five overs, but it was Sam Waetford who led the bowling attack with 4/18 from his eight-over spell. Redbacks captain Tye Clarkson also among the wickets taking 319 from seven overs as his side won a tough game.
One of the highlights of the game was the good catching from both sides and the spirit in which this game was played.
After round 13 of the Condamine Cup, the battle for the top four spots in the competition is on in earnest. While Maryvale head the standings, Allora Rascals and the Redbacks both had impressive wins on the weekend and the Redbacks, Wheatvale, Allora and Inglewood are vying for two spots in “A” Grade.
On Saturday, games begin at 12.30 games (All Players at grounds by 12.15pm)
Colts v Sovereign at Slade Park
Maryvale v Inglewood at Mayhew Ovals
Allora Rascals v Redbacks at Allora
On Sunday, Wheatvale play Allora at Slade Park. The game commences at 10.30am (All players to be there by 10.15am).
Damian Anderson captain of Valleys put down his side’s loss to RSL in last weekend’s Stanthorpe T20 fixtures to a combination of missed opportunities and some poor fielding. “Dropped catches cost us dearly,” Anderson said. “Kirby Morunga was the best of our batsmen. He scored 40 runs in what for us was a disappointing total of 84.”
Luke Brady had a field day with the ball, taking four wickets for six runs.
In reply, RSL had little difficulty reeling in the required runs. Will Dowie hit the winning runs with two overs to spare.
On the CF White Oval, Souths played Wanderers – details of this game were unavailable at the time of printing.

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