Coast to Country: The Flinders Highway Tour 2019

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Mendi Blackhawks Development team have returned from their Flinders Highway Tour. 


The Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks Development team have hit the road embarking on a weeklong Flinders Highway Tour.

Departing Townsville on June 15, Mendi Blackhawks Development Officer Tim Nugent, Under 20’s Coach Dave Elliot and North Queensland Cowboys Development Officer Gavin Lloyd visited regional towns including Richmond, Mt Isa, Cloncurry, Julia Creek and Hughenden, along with the support of the NRL’s Will Seimer.

The object of this tour was to encourage participation, while assisting in the education of its participants in these regional areas.

In total, the 1800 kilometre round trip saw seven schools and four Rugby League clubs visited, resulting in a substantial reach of 305 primary school children, 120 junior club players, 50 seniors club players and 21 coaches.

“The Mendi Blackhawks footprint works from the Coast right out to the west of Mt Isa, so all the areas we visited in the Flinders Highway Tour are very important to us,” Nugent said.

“And all of those people are already a part of a Rugby League.”

“In order for the game to be sustainable, it’s important that people like ourselves are out there visiting and encouraging participation through schools and clubs.”

“And assisting in the education process with the coaches means that players that are coming into the game are getting a good experience and want to stay because it’s enjoyable for them.”

Nugent went on to acknowledge that the tour was not just about rugby league, a large part of it was about working with the participants and encouraging them to find their sport. 

“The variety of sports in the small communities is insane,” Nugent said.

While there were many memorable moments from the tour, Nugent noted what stood out the most was the welcoming nature of the members of these communities and how hands on the members were.

“It isn’t hard working with the members of these communities, because they appreciate your time,” Nugent said.

“We were so well supported, and I think when you come to those small communities and work with those people you see how a football club can be successful, and that’s a result of everyone being hands on.”

“You really get a perspective and appreciate the amount of distance some of these people out there have to travel to participate. “

“I think it is important that us, the NRL and QRL in particular, support these people because they put their hands up to ensure rugby league be played is being played out there.”

In addition to the communities being welcoming, Nugent also highlighted that the facilities in the clubs and schools were also particularly impressive.

“Their fields and facilities are well set up and it’s evident their councils do a wonderful job in ensuring the support for the clubs,” Nugent said.

The Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks are already planning for their next trip.