IMPROVED FACILITIES: Peak Downs Pirates Junior Rugby League's Under 6 team with coach Peter Blackburn.
IMPROVED FACILITIES: Peak Downs Pirates Junior Rugby League's Under 6 team with coach Peter Blackburn. Contributed

Pirates are shipshape

RUGBY LEAGUE: Peak Downs Pirates Junior Rugby League Club has replaced and refitted its safety equipment and is able to mark out more fields and host more games after recent upgrades at the venue.

Committee treasurer Bree Carter said the club used a $10,000 grant from Glencore for new game day safety equipment including safe corner posts and bollards to help with crowd control as well as post pads for the goal posts.

"We bought more safety equipment to be able to mark out our fields which means we can run more games at once - six games at a time.”

Ms Carter said a game could be held on the main field, and other fields could now also be used for Under 8 and Under 9 games.

"We can run the games at the same time which has made the day quite successful.”

She said the financial boost had also given the club and its members a boost of morale and, with other improvements over the past year, numbers at the club had doubled.

"We've done a lot of work within our club to get the safety standards up to get the club running smoothly and we've doubled in size.

"We've got 110 kids in our club from age three years to the Under 14s. Last year we had about 55 kids so it's been a massive increase.

"I think the safety aspect has helped, and we've also done a lot of other things including upgrading our logo and how we promote the club.”

Ms Carter said the junior players, with the guidance of their coaches and other volunteers, learnt from each other on and off the field.

"There's a lot of team building and support and they get a lot of confidence. They learn a lot from team sport and they learn to pick each other up when things aren't going right.

"We've got a lot more girls joining in now, too. It is amazing to see that we're bridging that gap and breaking down those barriers. It's awesome and they do a fabulous job out on the field.”

The Under 6s and Under 7s focus on being part of a team and enjoying themselves while the older players also learn values such as commitment and developing a strong work ethic.

Football is a "good avenue” for youth sport, Ms Carter said, and as a sport that involved the whole family, she found the bonds being formed among parents in the community were also a bonus.

"There's also a bit of a support network through football.

"Often the parents knew it would be good for their child but didn't realise how much they would enjoy being part of the Pirates family as well.”

Glencore's latest round of funding for junior sporting clubs in Mackay and surrounds totalled $50,000.

Community relations manager Craig Strudwick said the funding aimed to help non-profits continue to play an important role in community health and wellbeing.

"Junior sport is an important part of every community because of the many benefits it delivers.”

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