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30th Column

13/August/2021

There is little with respect to Rugby League in the district, or even the north, which gets past me, as I have had my hand in the footy pot since I left school. But there is one Rugby League match on the calendar in our neck of the woods that deserves an overdue recognition for standing the test of time through 20 years of rough and talented footy, and that is the Tully State High School Annual Rugby League Seniors Versus Juniors game. The reason I have been an admirer and advocate of this game was, well to put quite simply, because I played in the very first match back in 1998 and happened to pick up the MVP that day by scoring three tries and single handily getting the Year 12s the victory. Ok, so this is not a time of reflection of my past talent and good looks, and there were other superstars that made a valuable contribution that particular day at the high school, but many of us that day would never have dreamt that it would be a game that would feature future NRL players. Now, over 20 years later, I would like to give my biggest contribution to the game, which started my love affair with Rugby League. This game would not have been possible if it were not for our 98-School Captain and Founder of the concept, who is none other than good mate Andrew Cripps. He obviously had help with many students promoting the game, the school staff back in the day giving the green light, Lani and Marie playing the part of cheerleading down to a tee, and, of course, Neil Jesse’s juniors playing the part of villain as well as Thanos. Of course, we cannot forget Mr Buttsworth refereeing the game right down the middle after we slipped him a few lobsters at homegroup to ensure the first victory would go to Crippsys’ men. Therefore, I shall put forward that on this day, the Man of the Match Award for this particular game be forever called the Andrew Cripps Medal. It is an honour so fitting for the man, as I believe it is the right and proper thing to do to befit such an amazing person, who has given so much to our region, and, also on the down low, I love the guy, because he is my mate and I know the famous victory that day was because of him, regardless of all the credit I try and take for my hat trick of tries. So, if anyone from Tully State High School is reading this article and you have the power to make this happen, please try with all of your Superman (or Supergirl) powers to make it become a reality, because on the 20th Anniversary of the game, it would be a better day if the Godfather of the game has his name etched in the MVP medal. The Andrew Cripps Medal, the most deserving thing, which should happen sooner rather than later. 

As the cold Atherton air welcomed the Tully Tigers to the Tablelands last Saturday night, it was always going to be a tough ask to drive back down the range with competition points. The Under 18 game was always going to be a hard one with only two players riding the bench. Darian Burton once again led the way with Braithan Ketchell playing his best for the cubs. Samat Gutchen continues to impress with his work and attitude, and he is now one of the leaders. Thomas Busch and Jerome Ketchell were once again our best forwards, doing all of the hard work, together with Morgan Black. Travis Odgen once again chipped in with another strong showing in the centres with his partner Nathan Muriata. The last special mention I have to give is for none other than Brodie Murray, who has come along way since arriving at the Club. Every game is an improvement, and all the boys seem to love him. Paul Ketchell’s A grade boys once again dug deep and could not be faulted for their efforts. It is a hard road our boys have been on, but a better finish is something we are hoping for before we start 2022 preparation. 

A special mention to one, Braithan Ketchell, who plies his trade for the Tully Tigers’ Under 18s and Under 16s in club land and has been selected to represent the North Queensland Cowboys’ Under 16s to take on the Brisbane Broncos in the next few weeks. The Ketchell family are no strangers to Rugby League, as his dad and uncle both played in the NRL for the North Queensland Cowboys when they started back in 1995. As I have had a little to do with him, I can say firsthand that he has all the attributes to go to the top level as he possesses talent and determination. But those are not his best qualities, because these are easily his loyalty, respect, and humour, which make him a great man to be around both on and off the field. I wish you nothing but the best, Braithan.

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