Gunnedah South Public School won the girls’ league tag competition at last week’s 2022 Miner’s Cup challenge in Gunnedah.

The Gunnedah girls were among 285 players from across the region taking part in this year’s carnival at Longmuir Playing Fields.

This was the 23rd year running for the event – its only years not played during that time were due to COVID.

Carnival organisers said they gained much satisfaction from seeing the young players take the field each year for the event which is geared toward small schools’ participation.

Adding to this year’s spectacle was the presence of West Tigers NRL club which by coincidence, was playing its country league round at Tamworth over the weekend.

Injured Wests Tigers star Tommy Talau touched down in the region just a matter of hours before he was pummelled with questions from inquisitive, star-struck school children at Gunnedah.

Refreshingly, he said the questions were not overly onerous – focusing less on his return from injury and more about his “favourite footy team” or his “favourite player”.

“It is good to see all the young boys and girls running around playing footy. They’re really passionate, so hopefully they can become Tigers fans,” Talau said, grinning.

The son of former Bulldogs back Willie Talau, Tommy started his career in his father’s footsteps having played much of his junior league with the Bulldogs.

Tommy signed with the Tigers in 2018 and made his first grade NRL debut in 2019.  

Although currently injured, the Talau prodigy relished the opportunity to impart some words of advice to the eager youngsters in Gunnedah.

“Just about staying active, eating healthy and having fun,” he said. 

“That’s what footy is all about, making new friends and life-long connections. 

“As long as they enjoy footy at this age, that’s the main thing.”

Narrabri won the senior boys’ division and runner-up was Narrarbi Public School.  

The Years 3-4 division champions were St Xavier’s Gunnedah Blue with the runners-up a combined St Joseph’s/St Michael’s team from Barraba and Manilla schools. 

Runner-up in the girls’ league tag competition was St Joseph’s/St Michael’s.

Standout individuals from the carnival included ‘Most Impressive’ award winners Miami Morley (Boggabri) and Laughlin Phillips (Barrabra). 

Four players also each received a $25 voucher to a local sports store as reward for the efforts at the carnival.

Carnival organiser Ross Whittaker thanked Luke Taylor from Country Rugby League who assisted in recruitment of the Wests Tigers members for the day. 

Ross said the Tigers players’ autographs and photos were a big success for the children and parents.

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