‘Special’ inaugural Cultural Cup unites Toowoomba cultures

‘Special’ inaugural Cultural Cup unites Toowoomba cultures
‘Special’ inaugural Cultural Cup unites Toowoomba cultures

The inaugural Toowoomba Rugby League Cultural Cup has been hailed as one of the “most special rugby league events” held in the region.

An estimated 1500 people attended Oakey Rugby League Club on February 25 for under 15 girls and boys and senior women’s and men’s matches between Indigenous team Southwest Queensland Emus and Pacific Nations Toowoomba.

TRL secretary and QRL Indigenous Advisory Committee member Wyatt Cook-Revell said it was a magnificent event with an electric atmosphere.

“It was a really great day of rugby league out at Oakey and I think it was particularly special because it was another example of how rugby league can bring our communities together,” Cook-Revell said.

“The opportunity for rugby league to bring together our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players and out Pacific islander players together on the field not only showcased their ability but the pride in their cultures.

“Rugby league has an important role in promoting, recognising and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Pacific nations’ culture in a way that was celebrated at Oakey.”

Pacific Nations Toowoomba organiser Herman Ene-Purcell, who is Samoan, said it was a highlight to see cultural performance from both sides in front of such a huge crowd.

“We’ve been pushing for a team like this for a long time with the increase of Pacific islander players in the TRL and we wanted to represent our culture out there and it was good,” Ene-Purcell said.

“All my boys had something to play for whether it was their country of family or whoever they were representing, and it meant a lot to them.”

Ene-Purcell labelled the event a “real success” and was keen for it to become an annual event.

Southwest Queensland Emus organiser Gary Halliday it was great to bring Pasifika and Indigenous player together to build cultural awareness in the community and give talented players a platform to progress in club and representative teams.

“It was a great weekend. Our players loved it, from the two junior games to the women and the men and they played a high quality game,” Halliday said.

“Their lads were a lot bigger build and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players used our natural ability and football awareness, and from what I heard the crowd was the biggest they’ve have there at Oakey for a long time and I take my hat off to Brendan Dolan and his committee for putting it on.”

Halliday was hopeful it was the precursor to more cultural-based celebrations on the Toowoomba rugby league calendar.

Cook-Revell said the turnout was a clear message such a game had plenty of support in the Toowoomba rugby league community and the TRL would discuss how it would look in the future.

TRL Cultural Cup results

Men’s

South West Emus 50 d Pacific Nations Toowoomba 22 

Women’s

South West Emus 26 d Pacific Nations Toowoomba 8 

Under 15 Girls

Pacific Nations Toowoomba 50 d Southwest Emus 0

Under 15 Boys

Pacific Nations Toowoomba 24 Southwest Emus 18

Source: qrl.com.au

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