Former rugby league greats took to the field at Moranbah on October 14, with the Anglo American Australian Legends taking the field against the Vitrinite Moranbah Miners All Stars.
2023 Reserve Grade Coach and All Stars player Mick Curcio said it was a significant event for the local community.
“It’s all for the young people in the town. As a coach I love seeing the kids come in as juniors and develop into young adult players. Great friendships are made, the game really brings the community together. At the Legends of Leagues game, I had young players asking for my autograph on balls and shoes. When the kids look up to you, you know you are doing something right.”
The International Legends of League used the event as an opportunity to engage with local schools. Their tour covered Moranbah, Dysart, Middlemount, Glenden, Clermont, and Nebo. Students learned about bullying, social media dangers, youth suicide, health, and self-confidence through the players’ philosophy of “dream, believe, achieve”.
Former Melbourne Storm and Legends player Jaimon Lowe shared the value of these youth connections.
“It’s very important. I remember back when I was in primary school my brother’s favourite player was Steven Price from the Bulldogs. Price played for our JNR club in Toowoomba also, so it was easy to watch him play NRL and think “that could be me one day.” One day my brother wrote him a letter and Steve went out of his way to meet him and give him a signed training shirt. He was over the moon.
“I remember at the time thinking, if I’m ever in that situation I want to do positive things for people, especially young kids. I’ve got no doubt that inspired my brother and I both to pursue a career in the NRL and I often think about that when we visit schools now. It might not be inspiring the next NRL player, but maybe just a young person to follow their dreams.”
The Anglo American Australian Legends included players such as Sam Thaiday, Jaiman Lowe, PJ Marsh whilst the Vitrinite Moranbah Miners All Stars saw lots of local faces take the field such as Chris Bell, Andrew Stevens and Matthew Huggett. In the end, the Anglo American Australian Legends team won a tight match against the Vitrinite Moranbah Miners by 36 – 30.
Prior to the main event, the Moranbah Miners U13’s took on the Springsure Mountain Men U13’s in a spirited match followed by the Ethan Stevens Memorial Game which featured Ethan’s former Miners teammates. Some travelled from as far as Mareeba, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast to honour his memory and compete for the Ethan Stevens Memorial Cup.
The weekend also included a fundraising auction during an ‘Evening with the Stars’ at the Workers Club, raising money for mental health and the Stevens Family’s ‘Kids Connecting Parents’ app.
The event was a resounding success, drawing participants and attendees from across the region. Isaac Regional Council, in collaboration with key sponsors and stakeholders, hosted the high-stakes charity clash and Mayor Anne Baker praised the event.
“Our residents love for footy runs deep, and when you match a legendary clash like this with programs that support our young people it is a win for everyone,” she said.