Emus out to showcase talent
RUGBY LEAGUE: Four Southwest Queensland Emus teams will take to the field throughout the day at Clive Berghofer Stadium today, each representing a golden opportunity for players.
Encompassing more than just Toowoomba, the Indigenous sides will get their chance to not only represent their culture, but push for further individual honours.
While the men's match takes billing as the main event, the U16s, U18s and women's fixtures are important stepping stones for the year ahead.
President Gary Halliday said the concept was a rewarding one for all players, and one that has been successful.
"This is the second staging of these grades after they played in the first game in 2017,” Halliday said.
"It gives them a good opportunity as part of their development as players, and allows them to represent themselves and their families.
"All the families wanted them to be able to play in this game which is great. We have players from Cunnamulla, Charleville and St George coming. Even though the event is held in Toowoomba, we have to rely on our Indigenous players to help make up the sides from out west.”
Halliday said with various coaches present at the game, it was a chance for the young sides to showcase their potential.
"It's a great concept, and encourages players to try out for the Toowoomba Clydesdales and Western Mustangs,” he said.
"It gives them a bit of that pathway and keeps them in the game out west.
"There's a sense of pride when pulling on an Indigenous jersey. They're representing their culture and region and do their families proud.
"They also need to look at the bigger picture and opportunities as well. For some of these boys they will be put in front of some of the players and coaches from the Mustangs, and they can show their talent in front of them.”
After running out onto AAMI Park in Melbourne as vice captain of the Indigenous All Stars, Samartha Leisha will provide a huge boost for the Emus side.
"We're fortunate enough to have Samartha play,” Halliday said.
"We'll also have Molly O'Connell who is a former All Star as well.
"All of our Emus women are signed up with the Valleys Fillies, and it's great that they are able to help boost the women's game in Toowoomba.”