Another record for Laurie Spina Shield
Wednesday 2 May 2012 3:04 PM
The popularity of the Laurie Spina Shield continues to grow with a record number of teams signing up for the annual under-11 rugby league carnival in June this year, proudly supported by Guildford Coal.
>>> List of nominated teams – Laurie Spina Shield
>>> More information – Laurie Spina Shield
Organised by the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys in honour of their first club captain, this year’s Laurie Spina Shield will feature 66 teams, an increase of eight on the previous record set last year.
The annual round-robin carnival will be held in Townsville on Friday 22 June and Saturday 23 June, with the grand final teams getting the opportunity to play as a curtain-raiser to the round 16 Women in League NRL match between the Cowboys and the Canberra Raiders at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
The clubs who will be represented this year range from the Central Cape Suns in Weipa in the north, south to the Rockhampton-based clubs Fitzroys, Gracemere and Brothers and west to the Winton Devils and Mt Isa’s Wanderers Devils and Black Stars.
Every Townsville junior club has entered at least one team, including defending champions Centrals Tigers who will have three teams in the draw.
Among the clubs who will compete this year after an absence in 2011 are the Barcaldine Sand Goannas, Gemfields Giants, Central Scorpions, Biloela Panthers, Mareeba Gladiators and the Cloncurry Bulls.
Toyota Cowboys player development manager Dean Payne said the great response from junior clubs across North Queensland and Central Queensland was an indication of how much young footballers enjoy the Laurie Spina Shield.
“To set another record this year shows how positive the word of mouth about the Laurie Spina is and we’ve taken the carnival to a new level this year with the help of Guildford Coal,” Payne said.
“Sixty-six teams is the capacity for us at the moment.
“Once again we’ll have teams from across a wide region of Queensland come together in Townsville for two days of footy and fun.
“It proves how popular rugby league, and this competition, is.”
Nine teams played in the inaugural carnival in 1997 and it’s estimated that this year’s event, with around 900 players and their families, will contribute more than $1 million to the Townsville community.
“To set another record this year is fantastic news and I’m looking forward to seeing all the kids enjoying their rugby league for the two days later in June,” inaugural captain Laurie Spina said.
“While it is a competition and we’ll present the shield to the winning team on Dairy Farmers before the Raiders on the Saturday, the focus of this carnival is on participation, sportsmanship and enjoying the greatest game of all.”
An added feature of the carnival is the Fastest Feet relay which will be held at half time of the Cowboys v Raiders game.
Each of the 66 teams will enter a squad to take part in the relay conducted from sideline to sideline.