24th Column 2021


Well, well, well, here we go again. With just a handful of games left until the 2021 NRL Finals kick off, it is time for controversy to rear its ugly head in time for the soap opera of the century that always seems to follow the game at this time of the year. Is the game giving an advantage to Melbourne and Queensland teams by moving the competition to Queensland? In a two word reply to that statement from NSW, “No brains.” How can it give any Queensland a team an advantage when our dumb teams cannot even beat the bye? Last time I checked, the Sunshine States’ NRL teams are sitting quite comfortably on the bottom of the NRL Ladder, along with the Megatron and the Mariana Trench. The only thing Queensland is capable of winning lately has been the Women’s NRL, Sheffield Shield Cricket, A League and the World Hopscotch Championship that was recently held at the Carmoo Boat ramp. The National Rugby League will survive amid this stupid pandemic, but the best news to come from all of this is that the Grand Final could be played at Suncorp Stadium. Too bad our Queensland team stinks to be given that chance to play at Lang Park, so we will instead barrack for the other Queensland team, the Melbourne Storms, to bring home some glory after our maroons failed to do so. If we do, somehow, get the GF, then it will be another reason to laugh at NSW, because it would just prove that Queensland will always be the best state in the world. 

Let me be the first to tell you about the Rugby League Day that the Tully Showground and surrounds put on last Saturday, for our guests who travelled from far and wide to participate. Four teams were added to the footy itinerary for the day, which included the Men’s Outback, Women’s Outback, Men’s United and the Women’s United. It was like nothing the Banyan crowd had ever seen before, as the day was filled with Culture and Recognition of the  Indigenous Community. First order of the day was the brilliant Tully Tigers Under 18s side taking on the Ivanhoe’s Knights of Smithfield in one of the games of the round for this competition. The Ivanhoes are sitting first, but someone forgot to tell the fourth place Tigers who swept them aside to record a famous victory at the Den. Darian Burton, Braithan Ketchell, and Max S were outstanding all day, leading the team to the win. Not to be outdone, bash brothers, Jerome Ketchell and former UFC Champion, Thomas Busch, were at their Hulk-smashing best. I really want to make special mention of nephew, Brodie Murray, who has come a long way by improving his game week in week out. He is a real character around the team, and we love having him. The Reserve Grade boys missed out on an opportunity to keep their spot in the top half of the competition by going down. It should be noted that they had a number of injuries, so they need to make a run sooner rather than later. Our A-grade Tigers fought extremely hard, but they were up against a side that is sitting in the top three at the moment, so this was always going to be a tough ask. I thought Toa and Matt Laumea were at their destructive best. A strong game was also had by Eveready Bunny, Cameron Vecchio, in contrast to Playboy Bunny, Benny Campo, who made an appearance running water for our boys. 

The weekend rugby league fixtures at the Tully Showground on Saturday were a chance for our local community to showcase our cultural heritage. It was a goose bump moment seeing Australian renowned entertainer, Sean Choolburra, make the trip to help us celebrate this great day. The Aboriginal dancers, who were led by my Gulnay brother, Joseph Kinjun, were easily one of the highlights of the year for me. Seeing the young one’s dance gave me a sense of pride, as they showed all present who we are. As the game moved into the twilight of the evening, I was informed that one young Bryson Beeron was going to make his A-grade debut that night. I asked both his parents to come down and present his jersey, which brought tears to my eyes and to those of anyone who had watched Bryson come through the grades in a Tigers jersey. It reminded me of the time when, at one stage, only the Muriata kids played for this club, and then, when we started to play A-grade, it was like a footy dream coming true. Now, with only 150 people in the Indigenous community of Jumbun, over 25 kids from there are playing for the Tully Tigers and chasing their dreams of one day being like Bryson Beeron or being the next player of the Century Bully Muriata. Coming from the community myself, it is about doing something we love, and Rugby League is something we have always loved. I take my hat off to Elizabeth Todd and Charlotte Beeron, thank you for giving us this great young man. Bryson was the first kid from my community to make his A-grade debut in nearly 13 years, and do not think he will be the last.

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