City side forging connections with our western clubs
THEIR home ground is only a stone’s throw away from the beach, but the Redcliffe Dolphins always have a place in their hearts for bush footy.
The club itself has been making the pilgrimage to the Adrian Vowles Cup for the last five years, and it is a highlight of the year for their junior players, who covet spots on the Charleville-bound squad.
However, the linkage to their country cousins encompasses so much more, club operations manager Steven Crawford explained.
“Redcliffe has had a long association with the country – former players like Artie Beetson, the Cherry Boys and Darren Lockyer have all come out of Roma, and gone on to play for our club,” he said. “A lot of country players, particularly from the southwest who have looked for opportunities have come to Redcliffe, because it provides almost a country-like atmosphere as we are not quite in the city.”
Crawford is a country boy at heart too; he grew up in Thargomindah and Cunnamulla, playing rugby league with Adrian Vowles, and the pair became good friends through footy.
During their annual trip to the Cup, Crawford hopes to share the unique experience of country footy with his kids.
He believes the trip is always about more than the competition; his kids forge connections with players from the Wallumbilla-Surat Redbulls, who billet them along the journey, and they often volunteer to sub in for other bush teams when numbers are low.
“Most importantly, this cup gives the city kids an opportunity to experience what country kids do in their day-to-day lives, and also what they do playing footy,” he said.
“We are competitive every time we go out there, and one of our side has usually made the grand final, but the biggest thing is the experience.
“This competition is a credit to the team in the Western Rugby League: Adrian, Zoro and the whole committee.
“To get this kind of competition up and running every year … they put in a lot of hard work and have it grow is a great credit to them.”