Narrabri junior football players scored a role in the biggest day on the rugby league calendar year.
While the major duties were left to the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm, the Narrabri Blues youngsters got to award the victorious Roosters players with their premiership rings.
It follows the NRL’s greater focus on regional grassroots rugby league, providing opportunities for those playing the sport in the bush.
This year has seen NRL games played in Bathurst, Mudgee, Tamworth and Gosford in New South Wales this year.
Regional games were also played in Cairns, Gladstone and Toowoomba in Queensland.
The new focus and opportunity certainly pleased the Narrabri Junior Football President, Luke Browning.
“It was an amazing opportunity to the kids,” Mr Browning said.
“They got to meet the players, and hold the trophy afterwards, so it’s something I doubt they’ll ever forget.”
For the 18 kids, the chance to go to the grand final actually came as a surprise, and a welcome stroke of luck – Mr Browning only learned they’d won a couple of weeks ago.
By coincidence, the under 11’s team were in Sydney over the long weekend for the annual Cotton Cup against Mascot.
“It panned out quite well because it could have been hard to organise otherwise,” Mr Browning said.
Greater North Area Manager for Country Rugby League, Scott Bone, was as enthused that a team from his area scored the opportunity.
“There’s been a lot more importance placed on getting country rugby league involved with the national competition by Todd Greenberg and the NRL in recent years and this is another sign of that,” Mr Bone said.
“We had the Tigers play Newcastle at Scully Park here this year, in front of 10,000 people, and there’s plans to have more games here in the years to come.”