Eighteen men’s teams will compete at the Warba Wangarunya Rugby League Carnival at Rugby Park this weekend. Photo: Jann Houley
Eighteen men’s teams will compete at the Warba Wangarunya Rugby League Carnival at Rugby Park this weekend. Photo: Jann Houley

CQ rugby league carnival a sellout days before kick-off

Tickets for this weekend’s Warba Wangarunya Rugby League Carnival sold out within hours of going on sale on Tuesday night.

Spectator numbers were limited this year due to COVID and footy fans were obviously keen to secure their place at Rockhampton’s Rugby Park for the two-day event.

Eighteen men’s and six women’s teams will take part, with event co-ordinator Jamie Simpson tipping it to be one of the hardest-fought carnivals yet.

Teams are coming from across Central Queensland and as far afield as Bamaga and Ipswich, with Emu Park, who claimed the men’s and women’s double last year, back to defend their respective titles.

Simpson promised the carnival, which is run by the Darumbal Community Youth Service, would deliver some fantastic footy.

“This is the first time we’ve had 18 men’s teams since it’s been the Warba Wangarunya Rugby League Carnival,” he said.

Emu Park's Jessica Mooney in last year’s women’s grand final against FNQ Stingers. Photo: Jann Houley
Emu Park's Jessica Mooney in last year’s women’s grand final against FNQ Stingers. Photo: Jann Houley

“We’re actually down on women’s teams this year; we had a couple of late cancellations which allowed us to up the men’s competition from the usual 16 teams to 18.

“It’s probably going to be one of the most even carnivals yet; each and every team coming is capable of taking it out.”

Simpson said it was great to have rugby league back after COVID forced the cancellation of the majority of competitions last year.

“It’s been a strenuous time trying to put it together. So many people at Darumbal and from the community have given a lot of their time to make this happen so to see the fruits of their labour and to see some rugby league being played is going to be amazing,” he said.

“As soon as registrations opened, there were so many people who wanted to play.

“There was no Queensland Cup and no local league last year so everyone just wants to play and we’re happy we can provide the opportunity for them to do that.”

The draw is still being finalised but round games will be played on Saturday with crossover matches and grand finals on Sunday.