16 March 2024

Junior Crocs set to push for Peninsula tryline at Atherton trials

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Max Giese and Chase Hunt

Max Giese (left) and Chase Hunt will be vying for Peninsula selection when then lace up their footy boots at the regional trials in Atherton in April. Photo: Supplied.

Two rugby league players from the Cooktown Crocs Junior Rugby League Club (CCJRLC) will be heading to Atherton in April after being selected to represent their district.

Out of 75 boys aged 11 and 12, Chase Hunt and Max Giese made the 17-player team that will play at the Peninsula School Sports regional trials.

This trial will be used to form the Peninsula team that will compete at the Queensland Regional School Sport rugby league championships later this year.

Club secretary Jacynta Hunt said the result was a testament to the boys’ hard work and dedication.

“Both boys just live and breathe their footy, both on and off season,” she said.

“They’ve been a part of the Crocs since they were in under-8s, so it’s wonderful to see them come this far.”

Ms Hunt said the club was especially proud to see their small town boys hold their own against players from bigger schools, who generally have more opportunities to take to the field and improve their skills.

“They’re selected purely on the basis of their skills, not their location, so it shows that their skills are comparable to those in bigger areas who have access to more clubs, more games and more challenges in those sporting areas,” she said.

Being so remote, she said the players were not able to play as many games as other boys in their district.

“The obstacle in Cooktown is that our kids can only play Hope Vale and Wujal Wujal; they’re the only other teams we have to play,” Ms Hunt said.

“So they’re not given the same opportunities that kids their own age would get everywhere else as part of the competitive circuit, where they would be playing all the teams in Cairns and all the teams in the Tablelands, and get the growth that comes from regularly challenging yourself against other players.

“There’s also the lack of weekly games; we only play games up here fortnightly, so they easily play half as many games as the other kids do, and it becomes a real privilege that they can try out in a larger region and be selected.”

Ms Hunt said the junior rugby league club had been putting effort in to sending the boys on away games over the past few years to increase their opportunities to play.

“We’ve built a relationship with some of the other clubs, so they play in Atherton and Malanda and Mossman,” she said.

“The kids down there have obviously got a much wider pool to choose their coaches from, so you often have experienced coaches who have been coaching for years and have played in competitive leagues themselves.”

She said this was a good challenge for the Cooktown league, where it is difficult to find coaches for the number of kids interested in the sport.

“We had 93 players across six teams, so that’s a really big deal in a small town,” she said.

“However, we do rely on volunteers and every year, it is a struggle to get enough coaches to field as many teams as we have because the club has grown.”

If you have a love of rugby league and are interested in putting your hand up to get involved with coaching in Cooktown, call the club on 0429 351 804.

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