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Qld's young indigenous rugby league talent takes on NSW in test curtain raiser.



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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission

Media Releases

Qld’s young Indigenous Rugby League talent takes on NSW in Test Curtain Raiser

25/7/2003

Queensland’s finest young indigenous rugby league players are set to take on their NSW counterparts in the curtain raiser to tonight’s Rugby League Test match between Australia and New Zealand.

For the 34 players from both sides, all aged under 16, it will be the biggest night of their lives.

Not only will they be playing for their State in front of more than 30,000people expected at the Aussie Stadium for the clash with New Zealand.

They also have the chance to stake out a claim for a career in rugby league.

Club talent scouts, as well as state and national selectors will be watching closely, on the look-out for future stars.

Billed as a development match, the curtain raiser is a new initiative between the Australian Rugby League (ARL) and ATSIC.

ATSIC Commissioner for Brisbane and South East Queensland Robbie Williams says it’s a concerted move by the ARL and ATSIC to continue the flow of indigenous football talent making it through to club and representative levels in rugby league.

It will also help widen the young players’ job, education and life skills and opportunities.

Organised through the ARL’s Indigenous Sports Development Program, the curtain raiser will showcase the enormous pool of talent within Indigenous communities

Players have been selected from all parts Queensland and NSW including remote communities, and are being coached by Indigenous Rugby league greats.

Former internationals Lionel Morgan, Tony Currie along with Neil Appo are coaching and managing the Queensland team. Former St George greats Jeff Hardy and Denis Kinchela will coach NSW.

Managed by former Australian representative Ricky Walford, the ARL program includes coaching clinics, workshops and development activities and is available in regional and rural areas as well as in the city.

Commissioner Williams, who has a long-standing background in youth programs, says sports development programs are helping indigenous people tackle other social and behavioural problems on remote communities, as well as in urban areas.

“Sport helps individuals, families and communities make inroads against alcohol and substance abuse, improves personal relationships, boosts self esteem and changes attitudes to and performance in education, health and employment.

“Sport like rugby league still remains one of the few level playing fields open to indigenous people as a career,” he said.

“This partnership with the ARL will offer young Indigenous people important new opportunities for a life on the footy field and beyond,” said Commissioner Williams.

The Queensland under 16 squad of 17 is:

I. Lindsay Narrier (Ipswich)

2. Guy Downer (Gladstone)

3. Nathan Watts (Mackay)

4. Richard Brewster (Gold Coast)

5. Alex Tabua-Mapa (Rockhampton

6. Nelson Dotoi (Cairns)

7. Spencer Parsons (Emerald)

8. Heathcliffe Lawrence (Gold Coast)

9. Andrew Taylor (Ipswich)

10. Ryan Blyth (Sarina)

11. Daniel Dodd (Tawoomba)

12. Bustin Stewart (Atherton)

13. Kerin Whitnall (Gold Coast)

14. Andrew Zaro (Townsville)

15. John Smith (Leguma)

16. Dane Evans (Gold Coast)

17. Tod Edmunds (Gold Coast)

Media contacts: ATSIC (QLD) Commissioner Robbie Williams 0427 034 446; Ricky Walford NSW ARL 0413045940

News Ed’s Pls note:Photo Opportunity:

Both Squads are training at various venues on Friday- contact Ricky Walford for further details. Qld coach Tony Currie is also available for interviews, via Ricky

Players lists available on request or from www.atsic.gov.au/events

Photos of players will also be available on ARL website on Friday.