Gladstone United to be star struck at Carnival
RUGBY LEAGUE: Gladstone United will be laden with some superstar talent for a big event tomorrow and Saturday.
Marmin Barba and Michael Purcell, who was rated as the number one winger and top try scorer in the Q-Cup last season, and ex-Mackay Cutters and North Queensland Cowboys' listed Jardine Bobongie, will headline the United team, which will play in the Warba Wangarunya Rugby League Carnival.
While to win the event is one of the priorities, Gladstone United team player Ashley Dodd said it was more than just winning.
That's the message United and all other teams want to send over the two days.
The popular Australia Day weekend event has 10 teams (men) and five women's teams from all over Queensland that will aim to finish as top dog.
"It brings all the mob around together, young and the elder ones together to play footy," he said.
United will compete for the 11th year and team manager Shaneen Ingra said Gladstone was the only team that has been a part of the carnival since it began.
"It's about everybody coming and playing together from all different backgrounds and nationalities especially for this weekend," she said.
"It's one of the reasons we are called Gladstone United.
"It means a lot to every single person within the team whether you are playing or on the sideline supporting, or are one of the officials that is affiliated with us, that means a lot to us about being together as one."
United was out of the finals race after day one last year but Dodd said the players were keen to make their mark on the field this weekend.
"We came runner-up a few years ago and we have always been thereabouts," he said.
Barba said it will be a special weekend and he told of his connection with Gladstone.
"Just through family and Gladstone is where my aboriginal background is from and I'm from the Goreng Goreng tribe," he said.
"It's very exciting playing in carnivals like this because it brings indigenous communities from far and near together in one spot to play a sport we all love and that's rugby league."
Barba hopes to use the carnival as a springboard to get back to playing at Q-Cup level again and perhaps higher.
"This year hasn't got to much installed for me at the moment, but just glad to be back with the Ipswich Jets after having a year off due to a broken ankle," he said.
"Fingers crossed something comes up at the end of the year."
In the immediate term, Barba said he will give his all today and tomorrow.
"I know the Gladstone boys will definitely give 100 per cent no matter what. And that makes me feel good," he said.
Today will determine the placings of the teams, which will all play three round robin games from 10am, while tomorrow will see finals and play-offs for minor placings.
Where: Browne Park, Rockhampton
Games start: 8.15am tomorrow
Last game: 8.30pm tomorrow
5th place in both men's pools are knocked out
Games start: 9am
Women's grand final: 3pm
Men's grand final: 4.15pm
Gladstone United sponsors
Glenn Butcher, Chris Trevor and Associates, Homeground, Mantis Sportswear, Civil Safety, My Equipment Hire, ConocoPhillips