By Casey & Perditta O'Connor
Last weekend several hundred rugby league players from Under 6’s to seniors descended on Stanthorpe along with their families, friends, coaches, volunteers and an army of supporters.
All were in Stanthorpe for the 2021 Redlands4Stanthorpe Rugby League Carnival hosted by the Stanthorpe Gremlins in conjunction with the Redlands Club from Bayside Brisbane.
Both Sullivan and Crisp Ovals were presented in A1 condition and it was a great sight to see cars parked three and four deep on the hill at Sullivan Oval, additional car parking over flowing and the fields and surrounds filled with footballer teams from Redlands, Wattles and Warwick Collegians and of course the Gremlins.
This is the second year that the Gremlins have hosted the carnival which is the brainchild of former Gremlin’s player Troy Colley who now coaches junior rugby league at the Redlands club.
Colley is a firm believer that by working together you can really make a difference. Last year he had an idea that the two rugby league clubs, Redlands and the Gremlins, could come together to benefit the Stanthorpe community. In the first year, around 300 players participated and this year the numbers of visiting players and local signings grew substantially. In 2020, the Redlands Water Drive for Stanthorpe which was run in conjunction with the Carnival smashed the initial target of 5,000 litres of bottled water. In fact, 26,000 litres were donated and distributed last year. The response in 2021 has been nothing short of amazing and a total of 32,000 litres of bottled water will go to Blue Care and Meals on Wheels to be distributed to the elderly in the Granite Belt community.
Colley, who is passionate about giving back to a sport which he says provided him with endless opportunities, is this year coaching an Under 13 Redlands team and was back in Stanthorpe earlier this month holding training and coaching sessions with junior players.
Colley and his small team of organisers worked closely alongside the Gremlins committee to make the 2021 carnival even bigger and better.
Speaking on Saturday Troy Colley said the Redlands players and their families love coming to the Granite Belt.
“Last year was great and we are pleased to have been able to pull it all together again in 2021 after such dreadful year,“ he said.
“Roger O’Brien, President of the Stanthorpe Gremlins and his committee have been amazing and worked really hard preparing the facilities for this weekend. “Once again businesses in the area, caravan parks, motels, hotel and accommodation places have all been supported.
“It has been great to see so many kids especially local juniors playing here today.
“New friendships have been forged and old mates reunited.
“It doesn’t get better than that.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Colley now has his sights set on growing the Carnival in 2022.
“Perhaps we can make it a two-day carnival,” he said.