The saying goes, every good drought is broken by a flood, and that’s certainly true for the Blackall Magpies rugby league team.
The team built from a community of just 1400 people in the middle of drought-ravaged Queensland has shown how to rise above adversity, being selected as the 2018 NRL National Grassroots Club of the Year.
It’s the ultimate accolade for the team and its many loyal supporters, who this year won the central west premiership, 30 years after winning their last grand final, and 40 years after their last minor premiership.
The NRL announcement comes hot on the heels of the club receiving the QRL grassroots award at the end of August.
It’s an honour that comes down to the strength and resilience of the community, according to club vice president, Carl Hauff.
“The Blackall Magpies have been around for a long time and our supporters and sponsors have always been right behind our great club,” he said.
“It's hard to believe that such a small club can take out a national award.
“We have managed to beat clubs with more financial support and bigger numbers, so we're very proud of what we've been able to achieve."
Far from just playing football, team members have volunteered their time and brand at a variety of community events – the local Anglican Flower Show, Australian Anti-Ice Awareness days, and raising $26,000 for breast cancer research – to signal its bedrock support for the community that has backed it through all the tough times.
NRL Head of Community and Government Relations, Jaymes Boland-Rudder confirmed the result and congratulated the Blackall community and the Magpies.
“The entire township should feel proud of their local rugby league club and everything that so many locals have contributed to achieve such a successful year,” Mr Boland-Rudder said.
“This award is recognition of the inspiration that the Magpies delivered to so many people particularly this year – whether as players or fans.”
<p>How good are these blokes? The central west premiership winners, the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackallMagpies?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackallMagpies</a> give back to the community that's supported them through thick and thin, serving arvo tea at the 90th Flower Show today <a href="https://twitter.com/NRL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NRL</a> <a href="https://t.co/0b7UZApjYL">pic.twitter.com/0b7UZApjYL</a></p>— Sally Cripps (@sallyQCL) <a href="https://twitter.com/sallyQCL/status/1033284153947566080?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 25, 2018</a>
The NRL Grassroots Club of the Year award is presented to a rugby league club that is an integral part of their local community, fostering participation and enjoyment at all levels.
Mr Boland-Rudder will travel to Blackall on September 17 to present the club with its award, which includes $5000 to go towards supporting the club.
The NRL’s Grassroots Club of the Year Award is proudly supported by Apprenticeship Support Australia.