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Rugby League – Rain didn't dampen Outback Challenge

Brewarrina Central School - 2021 Outback Challenge Girl’s Premiers. Pictured standing - Nevaeh Boney, Nataliha Frail, Taniqua Morris, Marlie Mako and Sanaa Kirby. Kneeling at front - Jazminn Smith, Minya Lord, Tiffany Frail, Koesha Morris and Charlie-Sue Shillingsworth. PHOTO TWH

Taniqua Morris – Girl’s Highest Point Scorer and Best and Fairest Player. PHOTO TWH

Wet weather did not dampen the spirits or the quality of rugby league at this year’s annual Outback Challenge.

Originating in 2003 as the ‘Fatty Vautin Outback Challenge’, the highly anticipated gala day of rugby league is a priority on the primary school calendar.

This year’s challenge was the 15th anniversary of the event, with a few years off after its inception and name change, and a pause during the COVID pandemic.

Outback Challenge Coordinator, Bourke Public School Assistant Principal Margaret Gordon, has been the driving force behind the event.

Mrs Gordon says Bourke has a terrific history of rugby league, a sport that is a significant part of the social fabric of the town.

“I’m no rugby league expert, but I came from a family of fanatics and my own kids have the bug pretty bad.

“As a teacher at Bourke Primary School and being around kids who live, breath and eat rugby league, it was inevitable that I would be involved.

“The idea of the Outback Challenge was initially about our local children – using a sport they all loved as a vehicle to motivate, encourage, reward and take their playing skills and opportunities to an extra level.

“I never dreamt it would develop and grow to the extent it has,” Mrs Gordon said.

The Outback Challenge draws teams from all over western NSW with teams from Nyngan, Brewarrina, Trangie, Cobar and Bourke competing in the 2021 Challenge.

Mrs Gordon says that the uncertainty about COVID meant that some schools were unable to attend this year.

“Unfortunately, several schools couldn’t make this year’s challenge due to clashes of dates with commitments, but they have all booked in for next year’s event,” she said.

This year, the competition was tough and there were some remarkable displays of skill, athleticism, and sportsmanship.

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