Footy, fun and friendship were at the forefront of another highly successful Obe Geia Junior Rugby League Challenge on Palm Island on Friday.
Some 400 players, teachers and supporters from nine Townsville schools travelled to the Island to join students from St Michael’s and Bwgcolman schools for a day of rugby league and cultural exchange.
After five hours of action, it was Rasmussen State School that emerged as this year’s champions, beating Heatley State School 16-8 in the final.
The Obe Geia Challenge is a unique carnival for local Palm Island kids who get the chance to play some home games in front of their family and friends, and the youngsters from the mainland, who travel to the island to experience its hospitality, culture and environment.
This year, it was teams from Cathedral School, St Joseph’s The Strand, Marian Catholic School, Magnetic Island State School, Vincent State School, Good Shepherd Catholic Community School and Kelso State School who joined Rasmussen and Heatley on the ferry journey to the island and back.
Importantly, each young footballer earned the right to play in the carnival thanks to their regular attendance and positive behaviour at school during the year and as part of their reward for their efforts, they received an Obe Geia 2014 players t-shirt from the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys.
The carnival is named in honor of Obe Geia Jr, the first Palm Islander to play in the NRL, and is a partnership between the Palm Island community and the Cowboys with support from the NRL, Sealink, Bun Lek Solutions, Dreamtime Training and Evolution Mining.
Ignatius Park College students also travelled to the Island to assist with refereeing matches and lend a hand in running the day which included giving the local community an opportunity to showcase the Island and their culture.