Capras ready to rumble
A MASSIVE day of Central Highlands rugby league is set for Saturday however organisers have stressed the Intrust Super Cup is about more than just the sport - it's about bringing the region together and highlighting the importance of community wellbeing.
Cameron Stallard, Central Highlands QRL operations manager, said this week around 2500-3000 people were expected to attend the highly anticipated day of rugby league, with the main Intrust Super Cup clash between CQ Capras and PNG Hunters from 6.30pm.
He said while supporters would be out in force, the focus of the day would also be on community health and wellbeing as they officially launch their partnership with #BIGRURAL in a bid to address the high rate of suicides across the region in the past 12 months.
Mr Stallard said thanks to the generosity of a number of local resource companies, entry for the games was free and the PNG team was expected to bring an "excitement factor” that crowds loved - the game is also to be broadcast live in PNG.
"They're an international team with so much culture and they bring such a great atmosphere.
"They bring positivity - for them this is their livelihood, it's their game.”
He said there would be nearly 200 players taking to the fields throughout the day, with 104 players from the major QRL competitions plus another 72 local league players.
"It's massive and it's fantastic for the region and fantastic to have so many townships involved, and they're focussing their attention on the Central Highlands for the weekend.”
The Intrust Super Cup season kicked off in March and finishes on the last Sunday of September, with players from across the state as well as internationally competing.
"It's where the players really fine tune their craft for elite football and prepare themselves for the NRL.”
However Mr Stallard said the day's focus was about the community and "giving back to the region”.
"There will be fireworks and the pyrotechnics you get at an NRL game will be here which will be awesome for the kids, and the Emerald Academy of Dance will perform.
"It will be a real community day.”
He said there would be a tent with information on #BIGRURAL and a gold coin donation providing information aimed at 16-26-year-olds on mental health and wellbeing.
"My message is that there's always people here to listen - it's natural in life to go through ups and downs.
"If we were always on a high we'd never know what a high felt like.
"We can always get out of a rough patch and there's always light at the end of the tunnel, and it's always important to look after yourself.
"It's about mental health, physical health and having a healthy life and healthy choices.”
He said he wanted young people to understand that having a chat to someone didn't need to be daunting - it could just be with a view to hear a different perspective on an issue.
Rugby League for the Central Highlands youth, he said, was offering an effective, stable and healthy pathway for teenagers to succeed at high level rugby league, especially with the new Under 18 and 20 pathways offered by the Capras.
"They effectively can stay at home for quite some time, and there's not that expectation or requirement to have to move out of town to play which is good for the wellbeing of young people who have had so much pressure put on them.”
Mr Stallard said the elite pathway made the game accessible to more players and reduced the added pressures of finding new work, accommodation and friendship circles.
Tomorrow's games: 1.30pm Emerald Tigers v President's XIII U19; 3pm CQ Capras v Western Mustangs U18 MMC; 4.30pm CQ Capras v Western Mustangs U20 HDC; 6.30pm CQ Capras v PNG Hunters (Intrust Super Clash); 8.15pm Emerald Tigers v Springsure Mountain Men.