2018 Game Development wrap

From Boigu Island to Gladstone and the more than 2300km in between, the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys Game Development Team engaged with more than 40,000 community members across North and Central Queensland.

The Cowboys Development Team spent just shy of 100 days on development trips outside of the Townsville district this year, including almost 450 school engagements, assisting with 18 school competitions and taking part in 44 different community events.

With the aim of growing rugby league at all levels through a particular focus on grassroots participation, the Cowboys Development Team runs coaching clinics in primary and secondary schools along with junior and senior rugby league clubs.

Led by Game Development Manager Liam Bartlett, the Cowboys hosted four major junior rugby league competitions in 2018 headlined by the Laurie Spina Shield, which saw more than 1100 under 11s players descend on Townsville for the two-day carnival.

Other competitions included the open Matthew Bowen 9s and Aaron Payne Cup, both open schoolboys competitions, and the under 15s Cowboys Challenge.

The Cowboys also held mini/mod games before each of their 12 home games in 2019, with under 8 and under 9 teams from across North and Central Queensland playing curtain raiser games before the main Cowboys NRL matches at 1300SMILES Stadium.

Along with Bartlett and Game Development Officer Gavin Lloyd, Cowboys Community Engagement Officers and former on-field stars for the club Matthew Bowen and Ray Thompson also travelled regularly, with Bowen in particular receiving a hero's welcome in every community visited.

Among the more remote locations visited were Boigu Island, Murray Island, Moa Island and Thursday Island, which are all part of the Torres Strait Islands as well as far North Queensland communities Bamaga, Injinoo and Mapoon.

"It is a pleasure travelling throughout North Queensland promoting rugby league and the North Queensland Cowboys," Bartlett said.

"The love and support for the Cowboys in this region is evident wherever we travel in North Queensland.

"Being able to give back to the community by providing a rugby league experience is something this club takes great pride in and we look forward to building on what was a fantastic 2018 again in 2019."