Tully and Innisfail teams participate in the Laurie Spina Shield

Tully Tigers Under 11 team met rugby league legend, Laurie Spina, at the carnival named after him.

TULLY Tigers and Innisfail Brothers Under 11 teams recently participated in the Laurie Spina Shield in Townsville, held over two days. 

This annual Under 11 carnival, which is run by the North Queensland Cowboys, made a welcome return after it was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

The Laurie Spina Shield is named in honour of the North Queensland Cowboys Inaugural Captain.

Spina played his junior rugby league in the Herbert River district. He competed in 169 NRL games for the North Sydney Bears (1983-1984), Sydney Roosters (1985-1989), Cronulla Sharks (1990), and the North Queensland Cowboys (1995).

He has also been a tireless contributor to the development of junior rugby league in North Queensland.

Several current and past Cowboys NRL squad members, including Michael Morgan, Jake Clifford, Mitchell Dunn, Reuben Cotter, Ray Thompson, and Kyle Feldt all played in the Laurie Spina Shield as juniors.

A total of 68 teams converged on the Townsville Brothers Rugby League Football Club grounds for the premier Under 11s carnival, now in its 24th year, which is one of the largest junior rugby league carnivals in Australia.

Teams came from the Torres Strait, Mount Isa, and Southeast Queensland, as well as North Queensland.

This year’s carnival was played under the new Player Development Framework and, while no scores were recorded, players were encouraged to put in their best efforts on field.

The carnival places an emphasis on participation, fair play, respect, sportsmanship, and enjoying ‘the greatest game of all.’

Each team participated in the Fastest Feet Relay, where all the parents, spectators, and other team members gathered around the field and cheered the runners on, which created a fantastic atmosphere.

There were eight pools with eight/nine teams and each team played seven/eight games in a round robin format.

Innisfail Brothers Under 11 team displayed true sportsmanship and played outstanding football throughout the entire carnival.

Noah Taylor from the Tully Tigers was named Man of the Match in two out of three games at the carnival.

“Despite some late changes, due to COVID-19 and the NRL Apollo protocols, teams were still very excited to simply play rugby league against teams from all over Queensland and enjoy the NRL game between the North Queensland Cowboys and Sydney Roosters. We hope to see them all back in 2022”, said Liam Bartlett, North Queensland Cowboys’ Game Development Manager.

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