The weekend saw us travel out to Barcaldine, as part of country week, to take on the Norths Devils.

Again, it was an important game for us, in the context of our season and our hopes of playing finals football.

It was a hard fought game where we trailed for most of it, but were able to steady late in the game and come away with a 32-24 victory. I say hard fought, because we had to do it tough after losing our influential half back Sam Scarlett after just 20 minutes and our experienced winger Luke Archer not long after, which caused a fair reshuffle to our team and subsequently left us pretty disjointed in attack. To compound this, we made a lot of schoolboy errors as well, highlighted by not finding touch on 2 separate occasions when kicking for line from penalty kicks. Good teams find a way to win though and this was certainly the case for us and it’s a great quality to be able to “win ugly”. In the end we did score 7 tries to Norths 4 and only kicking 2 goals certainly made the score closer than what it probably should’ve been.

The Country Week experience is a valuable one for all concerned. It’s great for the regions that hold these games bringing an exciting event to towns that don’t get to hold events of this quality, while also providing a shot in the arm to the local economy, through the money spent at the pubs, hotels, shops and so forth.

It’s also a great experience for the players who participate. For a lot of the younger generation, they wouldn’t even know towns like Barcaldine existed unless they were part of country week. For these young men to get out to places that really are the heart and soul of this great state, with all the history that towns like Barcaldine are famous for, it really is an educational experience as much as it is another game of footy. My father was born and raised in Barcaldine as 1 of 12 children, and I cherished the opportunity to get out to where it all began for my father and soak up the rich history that Barcaldine is famous for. My hometown of Moranbah was also fortunate to receive a game as part of country week and I know that game would’ve meant a lot to that town, as well as it is currently hurting from the down turn in the mining industry.

I would like to thank the people of Barcaldine for their hospitality over the entire weekend. I can’t speak highly enough for the way we were treated over the weekend and it was just another reminder that nobody does hospitality like people in the country.

Josh Hannay