Rugby League 2021

If the CDRL master coach won’t admit it, then I will say it for the fans, and that is that Aron Jolly is the one leading the way.

As the Rugby League 2021 season lights back up again after a short break because of COVID in the region, it is time to check out which players from across our region will hold the key to their team’s success.

Innisfail Leprechauns

First off, we head to one of North Queensland’s heavyweights in rugby league, the mighty Innisfail Leprechauns, who in the last month of footy have taken some big scalps leading the CDRL competition. Good mate, Dad joke inventor, and Leps Head Coach, Leon Hallie, was reluctant to say anyone in an Innisfail jersey should take all the wrap, “There’s just not one player here who makes this team, it’s a unit that gets the job done. Many of these guys deserve a wrap”. If the CDRL master coach won’t admit it, then I will say it for the fans, and that is that Aron Jolly is the one leading the way. I have had the absolute privilege to call the brother a friend and was as equally glad to see him hit great form at the right time of the year for the Leps. It is clear to any pundits on the outside looking in, if Leps have a chance of taking all of the chocolates and trophies, then Aron Jolly will be in amongst it.

Herbert River Crushers

Moving on to the Rugby League nursery, which is the Hinchinbrook stretch, where footy is not only a game, but a way of life, the great Herbert River Crushers footy club have been cruising along nicely to set up a date with destiny when the comp hits the playoffs. And the man leading that charge is Hooker Oscar Carter. Built like a Range Rover but tougher than a Land Rover, Oscar has carved out a reputation as one of the comps best defensive communicator in the middle of a great Crushers pack. As the Ingham based side struggle with some injuries to a few key players, they will be looking to Oscar to play a major role in challenging for the flag in season 2021. Hopefully, he can stay fit and bring home another trophy for the Herbert. 

Tully Tigers

With not much success in the Reserves and A-grade sides for the Tully Tigers, the Club’s legion of supporters will be looking to the Under 18s Rugby League team to bring success as they fight out the last few rounds for the top spot. Currently sitting in second place, the boys have a pretty tough run home, and the player whom I believe will have an impact on that is none other than young gun Darian Burton. Since the start of the year, he has blossomed into a great prospect who, if he wants to, can shoot for higher honours. Equally at home in the number nine jersey, Darian has been plying his trade at 5/8 where his ball skills and defence have been one of the only highlights of a disappointing Tigers season. If the Banyan club is going to think about bringing a trophy down the freeway in 2021, the one DB has to be the man.

As we draw near to the most anticipated Rugby League match of 2021, it is worth mentioning the history behind the Tully State High School Seniors -v- Juniors match. And, well, the only man who should tell this story is the one and only, Andrew Cripps. Before next Thursday’s match at the High School,  let’s take you back to where it all began. Roll the tape, Crippsy!



By Andrew Cripps, TSHS School Captain and Seniors Team Captain, 1998 

The year was 1998.  Former Tully State High School students, Stephanie Cargnello and Cathy Cavallaro led a large and dedicated Waltykima Magazine Committee as Co-Editors.  Apart from the huge effort to collect and format the many reports, articles, and photos, one of the biggest jobs was to raise the funds to pay for it.

The Senior Class of 1998 was a tight-knit crew, who supported each other. The Magazine Committee approached me to help develop a fundraising initiative.  At that time, Tully High boasted a large number of keen young blokes who played for the mighty Tully Tigers in the local U18 and U16 competitions on the weekends.

Although most of them were a year or two younger than the Seniors, I knew the Juniors would field a very competitive team, as many of us had played junior rugby league together for Tully for several seasons.  I convinced our Principal, Mr Bukbardis, to approve the proposal and the Seniors -v- Juniors game was born.

We must thank Mr Bukbardis for agreeing to this, as the whole school, the staff, and many parents came along that afternoon (during school-time) to watch the game, support the players, and a make donation towards the magazine.  Thanks, must also go to legendary teacher, Peter Buttsworth, for his fair and impartial refereeing.  

The Juniors’ team was captained by Benny Muriata, Shane’s brother, who was a very talented footballer.  Other leading players in the Juniors’ team included Mac Laing, Tully Rugby League stalwart Neil Jesse and the late, great, Adam Quagliata, a prodigious sporting talent who was tragically taken from us several years later.

I captained the Seniors’ team but was greatly surpassed in terms of talent by the likes of Jamie Zonta, and Robbie Ketchell, who, amazingly, is still playing for the Tully Tigers. Our Seniors’ team was lucky to have a front row combination consisting of Gerry Lizzio, Micky Krunes, and myself, all of whom had been playing together for years.

It was a very tough game.  Both teams were determined to win – the Juniors in the hope of causing a sensational upset and the Seniors to protect their reputations.  Several players on both sides had girls to impress.  My copy of the 1998 Waltykima magazine records that a number of players were injured, and blood was drawn. 

Waltykima from that year credits Adam Quagliata with a hat-trick of brilliant tries for the Juniors.  It does not record three tries for Shane Muriata, nor does it say he was awarded player of the match, but I have never known Shane to exaggerate a story in his favour, so if he reckons he bagged three meat pies and MVP, it must be true. 

The Seniors ultimately nudged out the Juniors 26-24 to claim victory in that inaugural game. The magazine story credits Robbie Ketchell with kicking the winning conversion.  It was a great afternoon.  We made some money for the magazine. A tradition was established. I am delighted the game is still being played each year.

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