Maddie’s one to watch
EMERALD State High School's under-16 captain, Maddie Edmonds, steered her side to victory in the Cowboys School Girls Challenge.
The diminutive five-eighth dominated the entire competition, including the grand final win over the prestigious Kirwan State High School.
The U14s won all their games in the lead-up to the final, but unfortunately went down after a long day of league.
Like Maddie's hero, Johnathan Thurston, she is not isolated to one side of the field, allowing her to drift across and dictate when and where to play - something that has not gone unnoticed by coach Terri Weatherley.
"Maddie is awesome. She plays football and it's like she is not thinking about what she does - it just comes naturally," Weatherley said.
"She steps, she will kick and chase, she puts herself where she needs to be defensively.
"She just does it all with ease and looks so good on the field. She is amazing."
Maddie reluctantly admitted that she could play, but said she had plenty of hard work left to make it.
"It was very cool meeting Jenni-Sue and learning about what she has done in the game," Maddie, 15, said.
"She had her Jillaroos jersey and her medal, so she went through and told us that it is a reality that we can get to her level.
"If I can get to that level I would be very happy, but I have to continue to improve and learn from my mistakes."
Testing themselves against the best of the sport was enjoyable for Maddie and her side.
"It was a whole new standard playing against Kirwan, so it really does make us all proud to beat them," she said.
"The best thing about rugby league is meeting new people and having fun playing footy."
Maddie's talents were also recognised at the Western 7s carnival, where she was identified as a player to look out for - a feat that brought a smile to her face.