This week we headed out to Barcaldine in Central West Queensland for Country Week. The Magpies have been heading to country towns for a number of years now and it is great to see the QRL has dedicated a full round of games, each year, to head to the country towns. We thoroughly enjoy the country hospitality when we go away and I know the community of these towns really appreciate the boys coming out to play some quality footy.

We headed on a charter flight to Longreach on Friday lunch time and then jumped on a bus to Barcaldine. We stayed at the Ironbark Inn and the owner Jim was fantastic and looked after us all very well for the whole weekend. We had a function with Norths and all of the QRL officials on Friday night, which was fantastic, with a great country meal served up. Saturday morning we headed over to the showgrounds to help out with some of the coaching clinics for the kids. Talking with a few of the kids and parents we were told some of these families travelled over 3 hours and were camping at the showground for the night. The clinic was great with beautiful sunny weather after a large amount of rain over the past month in the west.

Kick off was at 3pm and the Magpies started well but after 20 mins we lost our little general Sam Scarlett and the energetic veteran Luke Archer for the game with injuries. Ben Jackson had to slot into the halfback spot and the Big Red machine Dan Russell slotted onto the wing. Big Dan has been a standout for the last few weeks in the back row and had to play on the wing and did a tremendous job. His runs coming out of our end were fantastic. The boys didn’t execute very well with a number of penalties given away, 2 kicks from penalties not finding touch and some poor errors coming out of our danger zone. The scores were close and Norths hit the lead with around 15 minutes to go. But the 2016 Magpies never give up and with 5 minutes to go, Big George Fai did a trademark 30 metre run and then some good ball movement found big Nikau Te Rupe for a try in the corner, to hit the front. We got the ball back and the 2 big boys George and Herman Ese’ese combined for Herman to go under the sticks and close out the match.

Some very good performers this week, Dan Russell was great, the other winger Nikau Te Rupe ran for plenty of metres, Herman was great but the big bustling George Fai was outstanding. George has been playing some quality footy and cannot be far from earning a call up to the NRL squad in the near future.

The Magpies last week finally found ourselves, in outright 6th for the first time this year.

This week we play Sunshine Coast at Davies Park and it is a huge game. It is a must win to keep our place in the Top 6. We need as many supporters as we can at Davies Park and the can bar will be open again. Get down and support the boys and up the Magpies!!!!


Mat Cameron