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Mini Maroons  Unexpected heroes

Mini Maroons Unexpected heroes (Photo : WRL)

Mini Maroons  Unexpected heroes

Author : Rikki-Lee Arnold Community content producer

Mini Maroons: Unexpected heroes

Mini Maroons is the weekly round-up of the amazing things kids are doing in community rugby league.

This week we’re celebrating a Mackay talent getting some overdue recognition, a Yeppoon matchwinner – in more ways than one – and a Karalee team player putting others before himself.

QRL North

Jack Clark doesn’t always get the accolades, but you can always rely on him to get the job done regardless.

Jack Clark competing in the Peter Keogh Memorial Shield. Photo: Michelle Bettini

Jack Clark competing in the Peter Keogh Memorial Shield. Photo: Michelle Bettini

The Wanderers JRL took part in the annual Peter Keogh Memorial Shield in Mackay on Saturday, March 19, with Jack leading the way for the under 17s in their clash with Brothers Bulldogs JRL.

Jack Clark competing in the Peter Keogh Memorial Shield. Photo: Michelle Bettini

He was awarded the team’s best and fairest for the match, but his coach Phil Davies said it was a rare – although overdue – acknowledgement for Jack.

“It wasn’t one thing Jack did on the day,” Davies said of the award.

“It’s just that he’s a really good team player. He’ll do whatever it takes to help his team in anyway.

“Jack’s probably one of those players that does the work but does not always get the recognition.

“It was really pleasing the opposition coach noticed it and picked him. He’s not exactly a star player but he does his job, does his it well, does it consistently, and is a real team player.”

Jack has been with the Wanderers since under 6s and Davies has been coaching since the under 9s.

He said during that time Jack had taken on a number of positions for his teams, including centre, halfback and hooker, but he had settled into five-eighth in recent years.

Jack is also working on his leadership, having captained for the Peter Keogh Memorial Shield in the absence of the usual skipper.

QRL Central

Cayden Hoare was the match-winning hero not once, but twice, in the Yeppoon Seagulls under 13s’ one-point win over Norths Knights (White) on Friday March 18.

With three minutes left on the clock – and the scores locked at 12-12 – Cayden kicked his first ever field goal to give his team the edge in their Round 5 showdown.

Cayden Hoare kicks the winning field goal. Photo: Leeann Stoker Booth

Cayden Hoare kicks the winning field goal. Photo: Leeann Stoker Booth

It was a mighty effort but almost wasn’t enough as Norths took their own attempt at a field goal with 12 seconds remaining in the game.

Cayden shut down the attempt in a rather unconventional way.

“The other team was going for a field goal with about 12 seconds left,” he said.

“I chased out of marker and got in front of the field goal and jumped and stopped the field goal with my throat. I just dove and copped it in the throat.”

While there was definitely some pain, it was far outweighed by the joy Cayden felt over his victory.

When he kicked his field goal – shortly after one failed attempt – his team erupted into cheers and the 13-year-old lock threw his arm in the air to celebrate.

He said he felt unsure watching it go over from 25 metres out, but it was a “nice” moment and a just reward for a true team effort.

“I was nervous… I didn’t have too much height on it and the wind started pushing it to the side,” he said.

“I’ve practiced a lot with my mates and some of the boys have been teaching me how to get under it, get height and get distance with it.

“It was nice to win it but it was a good team effort. We had really good defence and all that good work paid off in the end.”

And in a nice twist, the field goal came just 24 hours after he watched his favourite NRL player.

Ryan Papenhuyzen – do the same thing for the Melbourne Storm in their Round 2 15-14 victory over the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

While he is a North Queensland Cowboys fan, it is Papenhuyzen’s determination that makes him Cayden’s number one player.

“I like his defence and the way he can get his team motivated and encourage them to keep going no matter what the score is,” Cayden said.

QRL South East

Young Aiden Maskus is a real team player.

The Karalee Tornadoes under 11s centre has had a massive setback to his 2022 season, but that hasn’t stopped him from showing true community spirit.

Karalee Tornadoes under 11s player, Aiden Maskus. Photo: Luke Maskus

Karalee Tornadoes under 11s player, Aiden Maskus. Photo: Luke Maskus

After training on Thursday, March 17, Aiden was playing around with two friends when they accidentally fell on him, causing his arm to bend the wrong way.

Puma footy
The 10-year-old broke two bones in his left forearm in the mishap.

His father, Luke Maskus, was about 20 metres away when the incident occurred but said other Karalee parents rushed to Aiden’s aid, with the youngster showing incredible bravery despite the pain.

“Luke was in shock obviously, but he didn’t cry, he didn’t scream much,” Maskus said.

“If it was me, I would have been screaming the house down. It was a terrible, funny S shape… it looked like Harry Potter when all his bones disappeared.”

Aiden – who has played with the Tornadoes since under 6s.

Now faces a nervous wait to see a specialist and to find out if he’ll need surgery, but his arm is in a cast from shoulder to wrist.

The Maskus family are also unsure how long he will be sidelined for, but it did not stop Aiden from supporting his teammates in their first game of the season just two days later.

Maskus said his son has broken bones before and, while this may be the worst one, he has always bounced back.

“He didn’t even get to play a game, which is disappointing,” Maskus said.

“He’s been waiting the whole off-season for it to come back. But he went down to see his teammates on Saturday and watch them play. “He will support his team where he can.

The Tornadoes very much have that family and community spirit about them.

You’re definitely part of a family when you’re part of the club. That’s the way you’re made to feel.”

Aiden also helped clean up the Karalee fields recently, after they were inundated during the 2022 floods.

Karalee are currently using local soccer fields for training while they still wait to have their venue assessed for damage.

Maskus said they are the kind of club that “get by on community spirit”.

With kids like Aiden, it’s not hard to see why.

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