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Laurie Spina Shield back for its 27th year

This weekend will see sixty-seven junior rugby league teams from across the state head to Townsville, rubbing shoulders with their North Queensland Toyota Cowboys heroes for the 27th annual Laurie Spina Shield, supported by Localsearch.

Established in 1997, this year’s edition sees the carnival move to a new home, with Queens Park in Townsville playing host to two huge days of on-field action with a feast of football activities, including a meet and greet with Cowboys players and the chance to take to the field at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Eight pools of under-11 teams will play 224 games over the two-day carnival, before eight teams are selected to participate in four games on Saturday as curtain raisers to the Cowboys v Sea Eagles NRL game kicking off at 7.35pm.

Named after the Cowboys inaugural captain Laurie Spina, the carnival focusses on participation, fair play and enjoying the ‘greatest game of all,’ with a shield presented in his honour, recognising Laurie’s tireless contribution to the development of junior rugby league in the north.

Laurie played his junior rugby league in the Herbert River district, playing 169 NRL games for North Sydney Bears (1983-84), Sydney Roosters (1985-89), Cronulla Sharks (1990) and North Queensland Cowboys (1995).

Teams have travelled from far and wide to attend, including a team from the Torres Strait Islands as well as groups from Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Mount Isa and throughout Far North Queensland.

Select teams will have the chance to grace the Queensland Country Bank Stadium turf, with one team from each pool to be selected to participate in the 2024 Laurie Spina Shield Exhibition games, based on a number of selection criteria, recognising their overall sportsmanship during the carnival.

Each team will have their opportunity to shine at NRL half time, with the return of the ever-popular annual Fastest Feet relay, as the playing arena fills with juniors eager to show their speed across the width of the main field.

The spectacle of the Laurie Spina Shield is one that a number of current Cowboys will remember well, with the likes of co-captains Reuben Cotter and Tom Dearden, as well as Kyle Feldt, Valentine Holmes, Jake Clifford, Tom Chester, Robert Derby and Jaxon Purdue all having played in the carnival as juniors.

For Cowboys Gold Partner Localsearch, this year’s carnival continues a long-term commitment to grassroots rugby league in the North and to the values celebrated and shared by the teams, players, officials and supporters alike.

Gates open at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday at 5.30pm with the Laurie Spina Shield curtain-raisers kicking off at 5.45pm – tickets on sale now.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.