UNIQUE EVENT: Special inaugural event brings together indigenous communities to promote sport and healthy living.
UNIQUE EVENT: Special inaugural event brings together indigenous communities to promote sport and healthy living. Justin Van Heerden

Event to spot talent

RUGBY LEAGUE: The organiser of an inaugural carnival in the region hopes to create a new pathway that caters for the indigenous communities in the Mackay region.

Neil Seden of the Mackay Indigenous Organisation in conjunction with the PCYC Mackay, Mackay Rugby League and Queensland Rugby League have organised an indigenous rugby league carnival to take place for the first time in Mackay today and tomorrow.

"This is an inaugural event for Mackay,” Seden said on Friday.

"For us it's about bringing communities together here in Mackay.

"It is also a celebration of our culture and the cultures of other indigenous people.”

Teams from North Queensland, Torres Strait Islands as well as some local and memorial teams, will hit the field to battle it out during the carnival.

There will be 10 men's teams, four women's teams and four junior teams taking part.

"This a great way to get these visitors to our region,” Seden said.

"At the same time its important to portray healthy living through sport.

"This comes back to the pathways we are trying to create for the community.”

Seden said the event would also feature some non indigenous players to highlight the importance of unity in the Mackay region.

"We are fortunate to have the support of the Mackay Referees Association, MDRL, QRL and non-indigenous community,” Seden said.

"I hope through our work together we can make this event a success, build on it and maintain it moving forward.”

Former Cowboys sensation and Indigenous All-Star Matt Bowen will attend the event as an ambassador.

"It will be great to have Matt down here, doing some skill sessions with the teams,” Seden said.

"There will be a couple of other NRL players around on the day as well.

"Another special aspect of the event is the inclusion of some memorial teams.”

Mackay has produced many talented athletes across many different sporting codes, rugby league is no exception.

"We have many past and current talented NRL players, many of whom are indigenous athletes,” Seden said.

"So the overall goal is to get this additional stepping stone for those athletes.

"To groom and develop the next Ben Barba, Dane Gagai or Dane Nielsen.”

Teams will battle across the day today and games will carry over through to tomorrow.

"There are sure to be some exciting games ahead for the community to enjoy,” he said on Friday.

"We will then see the grand-final games take place on Sunday afternoon to cap of the event.”



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