Winter sunshine flooded Longmuir Playing Fields on Tuesday for the annual CFMEU Miner’s Cup rugby league shield primary school carnival, where close to 350 young players turned out for a day of fun competition.

St Xavier’s Primary School, Gunnedah, claimed the coveted shield, with a quinella in the open boys’ division won by the Dragons team, with the Eels runners-up. 

The league tag championship went to Gunnedah South Public School, with a team from Walgett Community College Primary School the runners-up in their debut performance at the carnival. The Player of the Day Kerry Dennis played her heart out for Walgett, where the team left at 5am to make it in time for the carnival. 

Organiser Ross Whittaker was pleased with the number of players turning out for a day of league in perfect weather.

Each player received a Steedon football courtesy of NSW Country League and a carry bag filled with goodies as well as a representative t-shirt.

“We had at least 100 more players than last year and apart from a break during COVID, the competition has been running for about 30 years,” he said.

“The original concept was to give small schools especially the chance to enjoy a gala day with the opportunity to field a team by combining players from nearby small schools.

“Special thanks must go to the Mining and Energy Union and associated sponsors who make this day possible every year.”

Representatives from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter were on hand during the day, to remind spectators of its value in a crisis.

“When there has been an accident there is no better sound than the sound of a chopper flying in to help,” Ross said. “The Mining and Energy Union members contribute more than a million dollars to the chopper each year through workplace contributions with a further million dollars donated by other means.”  

Players came from Werris Creek, Bingara, Barraba, St Michael’s Manilla, Narrabri, Gunnedah Public, Gunnedah South, St Xavier’s, Walgett, Boggabri and for the first time Carinya Gunnedah fielded a team.

Winners on the day were awarded trophies and the runners-up a medallion. 

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