Mayor pulls on the boots
Mayor Bob “Butch” Manning will pull on the footy boots and relive his rugby league glory days as part of this year’s Great Barrier Reef Masters Games.
Cr Manning will lead a Mayor’s Invitational squad, the Mayor’s Meerkats to tackle the Canberra Hippos XIII in an exhibition match held at Stan Williams Park, Manunda on May 28.
The game will be a curtain raiser to the A Grade clash between Brothers and Mareeba for the Tony Schaaf Memorial Shield game, and will also aim to raise awareness of the Walk ‘n’ Talk suicide prevention initiative.
Under the watchful eye of former NRL player and GBRMG Ambassador David Westley, Cr Manning hopes to show-off some of the skill which led the crafty fullback to victory in the 1966 and 1971 Foley Shield teams.
“I am hoping that we can get some of the boys together and show that we haven’t lost any of our enthusiasm for the game, we may have lost some of our fitness, but I am sure there’ll still be plenty of skill on display,” Cr Manning said.
“The great thing about Masters Games is that the event is just as much about catching up with friends, as it is about the sport. The Games also encourage and engage Masters athletes in ongoing activity.”
David Westley won the 1994 Rugby League Premiership with the Canberra Raiders and has been an advocate for long term health and wellbeing. He said that the standard rules of rugby league were modified for Masters athletes to ensure that players aged over 35 had a platform to continue playing the game in a non-competitive environment.
“So that Masters Rugby League players are able to compete in a safe environment, modifications are made to the international rules of rugby league,” he said. “In general , changes apply to the length of the game, number of players, match rules including scrums, tackles and kicking, and special rules for older players.”
The Great Barrier Reef Masters Games are presented by Cairns Regional Council with support from Tourism and Events Queensland and Tourism Tropical North Queensland.
The Mayor’s Meerkats take to the field against the Canberra Hippos XIII at 2pm on Sunday, 28 May, Stan Williams Park, Manunda.