The victorious Murgon Mustangs with the Stanwell Nines Domestic Violence Awareness Shield

May 16, 2021

It’s a been a big week for the Murgon Mustangs rugby league club … volunteers have been kept busy organising guests and special events to raise awareness about domestic violence.

But there was a just reward at the end! The Mustangs have finally won the Stanwell Nines competition, an event which they have been organising since 2017 as part of their campaign against domestic and family violence.

The Nines final was the highlight of a huge Saturday of rugby league at Murgon Sportsground.

The event included games from Under 6s through to Under 16s, plus a fiercely fought exhibition game between a Queensland Police Service team and the Frank Fisher Invitational side (see reports, below).

It was a lot of fun for spectators and players, but the day had a very serious message.

“There’s no excuse for domestic abuse” signs abounded around the grounds, and Vanessa Fowler – the sister of murdered Brisbane woman Allison Baden-Clay – was a guest speaker at the official opening.

Other speakers – the police, Council and local MP Deb Frecklington – shared similar messages.

The day of football was the culmination of three days of DV awareness activities in the South Burnett, which included NRL visits to schools, talks and an awards dinner.

* * *

 Opening Ceremony

A yellow ribbon – the colour adopted by the Allison-Baden Clay Foundation – is cut at the official opening of the Stanwell Nines Domestic Violence Awareness Round with, from left, John Carey (Stanwell), Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington, Vanessa Fowler (Allison Baden-Clay Foundation), Cole Cooper and Scott Prendergast (Murgon Mustangs), Mayor Brett Otto, Superintendent Mark Burgess (QPS), Eddie Monaei (QRL Indigenous Advisory Committee) and Cr Kathy Duff

QRL Indigenous Advisory Committee co-chair Eddie Monaei urged everyone to be a part of the journey to eliminate domestic violence

Cherbourg rugby league legend Frank Malone, who did the Welcome To Country, with Cr Kathy Duff who also spoke at the opening ceremony

A special guest at the Domestic Violence Awareness Day was Vanessa Fowler, sister of murdered Brisbane woman Allison Baden-Clay

Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington was another sponsor of the day … she told the crowd she had been at school with Allison Baden-Clay

* * *

 Stanwell Nines Final

Buddy Stanley heads to the corner to score for Murgon in the Stanwell Nines final

The final of the A Grade Stanwell Nines was played between Murgon – which went through earlier games on the day undefeated – and Kingaroy which earned its spot after a countback of five-point tries.

The Nines are played under modified rules: nine players, nine-minute halves, dropkicks for conversion attempts and five points for tries under the sticks.

All South Burnett A Grade clubs – except Nanango – fielded teams in the competition for the fourth Domestic Violence Awareness Shield.

Cherbourg, who were successful in 2017, 2018 and 2019, just missed out on a spot in this year’s final.

Murgon began the final on a strong note with a five-point try by Josiah Alberts, converted by Eddie Aubrey.

Two minutes later Buddy Stanley added another four points to the Mustangs’ tally.

Kingaroy then hit back with a try by Jaspar Millar before Murgon (Elwyn Fewquandie) and Kingaroy (Ashley Smallwood) scored again before half-time.

At half-time, the Mustangs were ahead 15-10.

After the break, Arthur Saltner scored a five-point try for the Mustangs, before Ashley Smallwood secured a five-pointer for Kingaroy, leaving the Red Ants just five points behind at 20-15.

With one minute to go, the Mustang’s Karl Berlin put victory beyond reach for Kingaroy with a try, converted by Elwyn Fewquandie.

The final score was Murgon 26, Kingaroy 15.

Earlier Games (played on Field 2):

  • Game 1 – Murgon 28 def. Kingaroy 19
  • Game 2 – Wondai 18 def. Cherbourg 15
  • Game 3 – Murgon 35 def. Wondai 11
  • Game 4 – Cherbourg 27 def. Kingaroy 21
  • Game 5 – Murgon 24 def. Cherbourg 12
  • Game 6 – Kingaroy 22 def. Wondai 16
From top … Elwyn Fewquandie is cornered by the Red Ants, grabbed, disrobed (and where’s the ball now?) but still manages to reach out to score for the Mustangs

* * *

QPS v Frank Fisher Invitational

It may have been an exhibition match, but both the Police and the Frank Fisher sides were showing no quarter … this tackle resulted in a penalty
Vincent Law was named the Player of the Match for the Frank Fisher Invitational side after scoring four tries

The annual game in honour of the late South Burnett great Frank Fisher took on a different format in 2021 with a hand-picked Indigenous team taking on a well-drilled Queensland Police rugby league side.

The Frank Fisher Invitational team was selected from Central Division players after the recent 49th Battalion carnival.

The QPS – who have competed at elite level against NSW police teams – went into the game as favourites but the Indigenous side played with great enthusiasm, securing a 34-26 victory in a see-sawing match which had the crowd roaring.

Members of Frank Fisher’s family formed a guard of honour to welcome the Invitational team on to the field.

At half-time, the Indigenous side – which featured many South Burnett or former South Burnett players – was leading 18-16.

Vincent Law, for the Fisher side, put the first points on the board. The Police quickly hit back, scoring three tries back-to-back to take the lead.

But the Invitational team weren’t over-awed and scored twice ahead of half-time to claw back ahead.

After the break, the Police scored two quick tries and were looking strong at 26-18.

However, just three minutes later, the Invitational side responded – also scoring twice within four minutes to lead 30-26

Despite losing a player to the bin for 10 minutes, the Fisher side kept the Police out before Vincent Law secured his fourth try for the day, locking in a 34-26 win for the Indigenous team.

Travis Field’s boot was on target for the Fisher side, kicking five from six (only missing the last attempt taken off the grass).

Frank Fisher tries were scored by Vincent Law (4) and Travis Field (2).

Police try scorers were Mick O’Keefe, Cody Maughan, Luke Polson, Troy O’Sullivan and Ryley Kajewski. Mick O’Keefe kicked three goals.

Travis Field muscles his way to the line to score his second try for the Frank Fisher Invitational team
Vincent Law dives over a Police defender to score
Gotcha! The Indigenous team makes sure the Police fullback can’t escape custody
Vincent Law dives on a loose ball to score his fourth try on the day
The Frank Fisher Invitational side was made up of Indigenous players from the Central Division selected after the recent 49th Battalion carnival in Bundaberg … they are pictured with Vanessa Fowler, from the Allison Baden-Clay Foundation
The Queensland Police Service side was made up of players who took part in the QPS annual carnival at Townsville … many will now be playing in a warm-up game at this year’s State of Origin opener
The QPS and Frank Fisher teams pose for photos after the game

* * *

Under 14s

Murgon proved too good at the end in a close Under 14s game against Nanango

Two Under 14s games in the South Burnett junior competition were played on Saturday.

In the first, the Murgon Mustangs survived a late comeback by Nanango to win 14-10.

Murgon try scorers were Darryl Gyemore, Damon Cooper and Jacquon Clevens. Zac Harris kicked one goal

Kaiden Weston scored two tries for Nanango and Will Esen converted one try.

Kaiden Weston rushes to the line to score his second try for Nanango – just before full-time – in the Under 14s game against Murgon

The second Under 14s game was even closer, with Chinchilla ahead 14-10 over Kingaroy at half-time.

Kingaroy struck back after the break with a try by Harrison Braithwaite, converted by Lawson Braithwaite.

Kingaroy maintained this lead until the full-time siren, winning 16-14.

Kingaroy tries were scored by Tommy Beil, Fletcher Prain and Harrison Braithwaite. Fletcher Prain and Lawson Braithwaite each kicked one goal.

Chinchilla’s try scorers were Nathan Rollings, Koen Zerbst and Frankie Pearson-Bligh. Riley Lankowski kicked one goal.

Franky Pearson-Bligh breaks away from Red Ants’ defenders to score for Chinchilla
Harrison Braithwaite dives over the line to seal the win for Kingaroy in Under 14s

* * *

U15s & U16s

Tom Currin dives to score his second try against Toowoomba Brothers in Under 15s … he also kicked five conversions

South Burnett Eagles’ junior teams were in action against Toowoomba Brothers in Under 15s and Under 16s TJRL games.

In the Under 15s, South Burnett ran out winners 38-18 after leading 22-12 at half-time.

The Eagles managed the win despite losing players to the sin-bin at critical times.

South Burnett tries were scored by Tom Currin (2), James Jacobs (2), Jayden Murray, Billy Makie and Christian Simpson. Tom Currin kicked five goals.

Hughie Howard scored three tries for Toowoomba, all converted by Sam Sheppard.

Jayden Murray reaches out to score for the South Burnett Eagles right on half-time in the Under 15s

In Under 16s, South Burnett Eagles demolished Brothers 58-4, keeping the Toowoomba team scoreless in the second half.

At half-time, the Eagles led 20-4.

South Burnett tries were scored by Malakhi Swan (2), Tyrell Hopkins (2), Joel Fewquandie, Jamal Makie, Lewis Railton-Thompson, Michael Fisher, Jamahl Turner-Smallwood, Djuran Murray-Smith and Bayden Alexander. Jayden Tewes-Smallwood kicked six goals and Jamal Makie kicked one.

The Toowoomba try-scorer was Harry Clancy.

Malaky Swan touches down under the posts for the South Burnett Eagles in Under 16s
Bayden Alexander places the ball over the line for the Eagles with just four minutes left in the match
Tyrell Hopkins dives to score his second try as the full-time hooter sounds in the TJRL Under 16s game
This is what rugby league is all about … South Burnett Eagles and Toowoomba Brothers after their U16s game
Now they can relax … Murgon Mustangs’ Cole Cooper, the instigator of the Domestic Violence Awareness Day, with QRL Central Division chairman Danny McGuire after a big day of league at Murgon

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