The carnival kicks off on the Sunshine Coast on Friday afternoon with the finals on Sunday and the Townsville Bulletin website will livestream the games on the No. 1 field exclusively for subscribers.
Ryan Catholic College will fly the flag for North Queensland in the primary male, junior female, and junior male inclusion divisions while Kirwan State High will field a team in the primary female division.
Ryan’s junior female team is looking to build on the momentum of last year when the school finished third in the primary girls after a narrow first-up loss to the eventual champions.
Neive Ryan is one of the players who have come through the ranks this season and the 13-year-old said she was excited to get another opportunity to make the Queensland final.
“It’s nerve racking, but I reckon we’ll do all right. All we can really do is just hope and train and try our very hardest,” she said.
“I play AFL for the Thuringowa Bulldogs so I know some of the teams and the girls down there because we’ve played in other footy (comps) as well.”
Ryan Catholic College established an Aussie rules academy this year with more than 400 students getting the chance to learn the skills of the game.
“It’s really cool to see more talent and show what you can really do and it’s good to know what other people can do as well,” Neive said.
“I played soccer and stuff, but I just liked AFL more because you get to tackle people, kick the ball, kick goals, and just the fun of it — it’s a good way to not be stressed anymore.”
Ryan’s head of middle school sport Andrew Grubba said the academy’s focus was on participation and he was excited to see kids from other sports such as rugby league picking up the Sherrin footy.
“We’re about kids being actively involved and participating and we’re really pleased that we’ve had some success as well. That’s just a cherry on the top,” he said.
“A lot of our boys are rugby league boys and this is something new for them, but a lot of skills transfer from different sports which is great.
“Some of our girls were in our primary girls team that went this far last year so they’ve experienced it a little bit, but it’s a great opportunity not only for the school but individually for them to test themselves against the best players.”
The junior male inclusion preliminary final between Ryan Catholic College and the Sunshine Coast Region will be livestreamed at 2.45pm on Friday.
ALL GAMES BEING LIVESTREAMED
Senior female (11.30am): Narangba Valley SHS v Palm Beach Currumbin SHS;
Junior male (1pm): Helensvale SHS v Palm Beach Currumbin SHS;
Junior inclusion (2.45pm): Sunshine Coast Region v Ryan Catholic College;
Senior female (4.15pm): Miami SHS v The Cathedral College;
Senior male (5.45pm): Palm Beach Currumbin SHS v St Augustine’s College.
Sunday fixtures will not be finalised until after the completion of the Friday preliminary finals – but the junior boys and senior girls and boys finals will all be livestreamed among the 5 live games that day.