RUGBY league can be a pretty tough game, but it can be even tougher when many of those taking part are lacking some of the stamina of their earlier playing days and are without the reserves to fill the void.
The Battle of the Mines winning coach Graham Middlebrook encountered all this and more when his Biloela Callide Crusaders outfit clashed with rival Central Queensland mining teams in a knock-out style carnival in Emerald recently.
Despite their hardships, the Crusaders emerged seemingly unscathed, tallying a perfect six-from-six winning record from the carnival.
"We had a pretty tough draw to start off with, but probably made harder because we had a few players who didn't show and only four reserves on the bench," Middlebrook said.
"Then we had a few drop off and we were down to two subs for about three-and-a-half games."
As the majority of the competition was bit of light-hearted fun
scores meant little, but for the record, Biloela won with 18 points to their name.
Battle of the Mines tournament co-ordinator Andrew Lawrence said he was surprised to see the Callide side do as well as they did considering their circumstances.
"It got pretty close a couple of times, but I would have thought Oakey Creek would have been the team to beat," Lawrence said.
What impressed Lawrence more than the result was to see the players walk away with smiles on their faces and with their bodies still in one piece, more or less.
"Nope, no injuries, just a bit of hurt pride, that's about it," Lawrence said.
"They all played in the right spirit, and to see everyone out there enjoying themselves, I think that's what makes it."
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