Western Ringers at the Mulga Cup.
Western Ringers at the Mulga Cup. Alice Short

Best carnival in the west

RUGBY LEAGUE: A tired yet happy bunch of kids from across western Queensland Surat and surrounds made the long drive home from Charleville at the weekend, marking the end of another season for the under-11s district rugby league. Benderoo Bulls.

Each team of little leaguers had played five games of footy at the Mulga Cup Carnival, mingling with children from across the region and some from the city too. meeting teams from across the region, and from Brisbane.

Hosted by the Charleville Football Club and played at the showgrounds, six U11 teams played for the title. They were the Benderoo Bulls, Wandoan Wildcats, Roma Mixed, Central West, the Western Ringers and Capalaba Warriors.

The well-travelled Warriors from the eastern suburb of Brisbane ultimately won the day, claiming victory in four games, drawing one and taking out the grand final.

But winning wasn't everything, as the Benderoo Bulls graciously proved at the carnival.

Benderoo Bulls volunteer Ange Latham said that despite being beaten in every game, their kids were in high spirits.

"Every team played five games, which were shortened to 20 minutes each and had a quick break in between.

"It was a full-on day for the kids and they were all pretty exhausted by the end,” she said

"Luckily, the weather was good and it wasn't too hot, and the kids played some fantastic footy that was really enjoyable to watch.

"We're so proud of the team, the kids never gave up.

"They played five games and didn't come away with any wins, but they never dropped their heads, and in fact their last game was probably one of their best of the whole day.”

She gives credit to the kids' sportsmanship, which shone through at the cup.

"They worked really well as a team and just never gave up, their attitude was fantastic.

"Their coach said at the end of the day he was so happy to see the improvements they had made and that they'd taken his advice throughout the day.

"He couldn't be more proud of them.”

For all teams, making it to Charleville for the carnival was half the battle. But it was also a testament to the dedication of families in the Western Rugby League, said Benderoo Bulls volunteer Ange Latham.

"Everyone travelled a fair way to get there - certainly the Central West who have players from as far out as Longreach and Blackall, and the carnival saw players from Cunnamulla too.

"Even the guys at Wandoan, they had to travel a bit further than us. Our players are from the Surat area so they've got extra miles to go as well, but Capalaba was definitely the most travelled.

"Everyone puts in a big commitment - all the parents and coaches and team managers - to do the driving for the kids, and it's so good to see carnivals like this well supported with all the teams coming so far.”

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