Students at Palm Island’s St Michael’s and Bwgcolman schools and eight mainland schools have been rewarded for their attendance and behaviour with a place in the 2016 Obe Geia Junior Rugby League Challenge.
Held at the Palm Island Rugby League Club (The Farm) on Friday, the carnival brought together some 200 players, teachers and supporters for a day of rugby league and cultural exchange.
This unique carnival gives local kids the chance to play in front of their family and friends, and the youngsters from the mainland the opportunity to travel to the island to experience its hospitality, culture and environment.
Importantly, each young player earned the right to play in the carnival thanks to their regular attendance and positive behaviour at school during the year.
Named in honour of the first Palm Island local to play in the NRL, Obe Geia Jr, and now in its eighth year, the Challenge is a partnership between the Palm Island community and the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys with support from the NRL, Sealink Queensland, Bun Lek Solutions, Dreamtime Training, Minjar Gold and Evolution Mining.
Ignatius Park college students were also part of the travelling party to assist with refereeing and lend a hand in running the day.
“It’s a huge day for many of the kids – four hours of travel for those who come from Townsville or Magnetic Island, a couple of kilometres walking as well as five modified-length games of rugby league – but a very enjoyable and educational one as well,” North Queensland Toyota Cowboys General Manager – Community Fiona Pelling said.
“Once all the teams arrived we all took part in a community welcome to country that included some traditional dancing from the Palm Island locals.
“We really encouraged all the kids, once they were invited, to join the dancing because it’s a great ice breaker and really set the atmosphere for the day.”
• Marian Catholic School (winners)
• Rasmussen State School
• St Joseph's Catholic School
• Kelso State School
• Vincent State School
• Magnetic Island State School
• Bwgcolman Community School
• St Michael's Catholic School
• Good Shepherd Catholic Community School
• The Cathedral School of St Anne & St James Townsville