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Bush not ignored - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Wed, 02 Jan 2008 06:27:00 GMT

Rugby League in the bush will be a key feature of Rugby League's Centenary with plans for the largest grass-roots celebrations undertaken in the game's history.

The Toyota Centenary Cup and the Harvey Norman Regional Celebrations will provide opportunities for country areas to honour their individual Rugby League histories.

Across regional and metropolitan areas, every registered player in 2008 will proudly wear the Centenary logo on their playing jersey.

Centenary plaques will be commissioned throughout city and country areas to recognise places of key historic significance in the game, while the sport's living treasures - the thousands of volunteers who support the game each week - will also be honoured in 2008.

The wide-reaching Toyota Centenary Cup, in NSW and Queensland, will be a knock-out competition aimed at finding the best bush footy team in Australia.

Every NSW Country Group and Queensland region will be represented with the best team from each state showcasing their talents in front of a packed Telstra Stadium crowd on the night of State of Origin Three.

"Country football has made an enormous contribution to the game over the past 100 years," NSW Country Rugby League General Manager, Mr Terry Quinn, said.

"People think of the great players who have come from the bush to the city but the players who keep the game alive through local competitions are just as important.

"The Toyota Centenary Cup recognises those players, those teams and those competitions in Queensland and NSW."

While the Toyota Centenary Cup will bring the top bush teams to the city for its finale, the Harvey Norman Regional Celebration Program will see former greats return to their home towns to honour each town's proud Rugby League history.

The day-long celebration in each selected town will feature a tribute to local footy heroes, a traditional derby between two Rugby League rivals, ARL skills clinics and will conclude with a spectacular entertainment program featuring one of Australia's leading Country and Western performers.

The National Museum of Australia will assist in erecting a Rugby League Museum in each local Harvey Norman store two weeks prior to the celebration. The exhibition will showcase a collection of local memorabilia of historic significance as well as a presentation of the game's history.

"The Harvey Norman Regional Celebrations present an ideal opportunity for communities to get involved in the Centenary program," NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said.

"The enthusiasm shown by local Rugby League supporters and community leaders in each region has been overwhelming.

"While the program itself can only target a limited number of centres, we have engaged representatives from surrounding areas to ensure each of the 10 celebrations is embraced by the whole region."

Whether they play in the bush or the city, every registered Rugby League player in 2008, from under 6s to the Telstra Premiership, will have the opportunity to display the Centenary of Rugby League logo on their playing jersey.

"One of the Centenary Committee's key objectives was to ensure the entire Rugby League community was involved in the celebration," ARL Chief Executive, Mr Geoff Carr, said.

"The badge will give every player who pulls on a jersey, whether it is for the Cessnock Goannas or the Kangaroos, a sense of pride in the knowledge that they are part of the one hundred years celebrations.

"Even if you are a kid playing for the first time you'll feel part of the game's history." - Read More, Here