Mini Mustangs show up on the big stage
Rugby League: Few people can even dream to play in front of more than 30,000 screaming fans, but for a handful of young Murgon Mustangs that dream became reality last week.
The Murgon under-8s took it up to their Oakey Bears counterparts at half-time of the Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast Titans clash at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, and according to coach Cole Cooper it was an experience the kids will cherish for a long time to come.
"It means everything to the kids,” Cooper said.
"They look up to these sportsmen. To be in an arena like that and to have so many people watching is a thrill they'll never forget - something I'm sure they will tell their kids about.”
With the thrills came nerves, but it was not just the kids who were anxious about running out on the hallowed grounds of the old Lang Park.
"Quite a few of the kids had some nerves, one of the girls had a frightened look on her face but once we got out there she did really well,” Cooper said.
"Even I was a little nervous going out there, it's something special that only certain people get the opportunity to do.”
Murgon stalwart Stephen Alexander applies to the Broncos each year for the opportunity, and the club learned of they were successful just under a month ago.
For Cooper it meant kicking into gear a little sooner than was expected, as he went about organising training sessions to get the kids up to speed before their Suncorp Stadium debut.
"We had a couple of training sessions we wouldn't normally have had just to get the kids used to tackling and passing again,” Cooper said.
"They put that into practice really well (on Friday night). We defended our line well on a couple of sets, scored a few tries and had the crowd up and going on a few occasions.
With the South Burnett competition getting underway this weekend, Cooper is quietly confident his team will put the extra training sessions to good use against their rivals.
"For the kids coming up from under-6s it is a big jump for them, but going on their performances at training it won't take long for them to put pressure on the teams (that have older kids),” Cooper said.
"The kids are all very keen. We're shaping up to be a really good force against the rest of the South Burnett teams.”