2013 Laurie Spina Shield entries now open
Friday 14 December 2012 9:50 AM
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys believe they can attract another record entry to the annual Laurie Spina Shield, presented by Guildford Coal, in June next year.
Team nominations for the 2013 under-11s carnival, to be held on the weekend of June 29-30 in conjunction with the Cowboys’ NRL home game against Cronulla, are now open and will close on Friday 3 May.
The two-day event honours the first captain of the Toyota Cowboys, Laurie Spina, and has become one of the largest junior rugby league events held in Queensland each year.
The preliminary rounds as well as the quarter-finals and semi-finals are held at the Brothers club in Townsville, with the finalists having the honour of playing on Townsville Stadium prior to the NRL fixture.
Last year, a record 62 teams took part, with Innisfail Brothers emerging victorious, and Cowboys game development manager Ryan Mahoney said having 70 in the draw was the goal for 2013.
“Word of mouth has been behind our record figures for the Laurie Spina each year,” Mahoney said.
“Every team who comes along has a great time and it leads to new clubs, some from hundreds of kilometres away, wanting to enjoy the experience.
“This year we were able to expand our capacity to have more teams when Brothers added an extra field to their facilities.
“We’d definitely like to reach 70 teams in 2013 and we think it can happen because the news continues to spread on what an enjoyable carnival the Laurie Spina Shield is.”
Nine teams played in the inaugural carnival in 1997 and it is estimated the Laurie Spina now generates more than $1 million for the Townsville community each year.
In 2012, the clubs represented ranged from Weipa in the north, south to Rockhampton and west to Winton and Mt Isa and every Townsville rugby league club entered at least one team.
Cowboys NRL squad members Ray Thompson, Michael Morgan, Anthony Mitchell, Chris Grevsmuhl and Kyle Feldt are among the Laurie Spina Shield graduates.
Spina, who will again present the Shield, said he was thrilled with how the competition had grown.
“We set another new record in 2012 with four more teams and hopefully can push towards the seventies for teams nominated this year,” he said.
“What remains important to us is that the focus of the carnival is on participation, sportsmanship and enjoying the greatest game of all.”
An added feature of the carnival is the Fastest Feet relay conducted at halftime of the NRL game and open to each of the competing Laurie Spina teams.
To be eligible to play in the carnival, the juniors must turn 10 or 11-years-old in 2013.
Each team will receive a pack of giveaways from the Toyota Cowboys.
To nominate, go to www.cowboys.com.au/development .