Students and police clash on field

Nanango State High school students try to get past the Saint Mary's team. 215517

By Jessica Mcgrath

School students gave the police officers a good run on the field last week in a touch football competition.

Teams from Kingaroy State High School, Nanango State High School and Saint Mary’s Catholic College came along for the day out with a team of police officers at the Red Ants’ field last Thursday.

Kingaroy State High School student Joe Meikle said it was a great opportunity to have a bit of fun, since most sports events had been cancelled.

“Without tackle, it’s friendly for everyone, it doesn’t matter if you drop a ball as everyone is supportive,“ he said.

The Year 10 student and Broncos fan said it was good for the school teams to compete against the police team.

“It’s good to interact with the officers – they are just like regular people,“ he said.

“It’s good to have a joke with them.“

Kingaroy police officer Scott Prendergast said it was a great initiative since most school sport had been cancelled due to Covid-19.

“It was a good opportunity for local police to build a rapport with young people, as well as giving kids some form of organised sport,“ he said.

“Covid has been mean for everyone and sport is good for your mental health.“

The school teams, with around 100 students in total, played against each other as well as the police team as part of the round robin-style carnival.

“This age group is often hard to engage,“ Prendergast said.

The police officers visited each of the schools and played footy with the students during their lunch breaks during the three weeks leading up to the carnival.

“We made really good connections with teaching staff and students, which only strengthens the community,“ Prendergast said.

South Burnett and Central Burnett game development officer for the NRL, Brennan Brown said this was the first time in nearly six months the students had an organised sports event.

“They had a bit of fun and a day off school,“ he said.

Nanango State High School Year 9 student, and fellow Broncos fan, Tyrell Hopkins said the day out was the team’s first time playing together.

“It was fun and enjoyable,“ he said.

Darren Andersen, a Year 6 student at Saint Mary’s Catholic College, was impressed by how organised the event was.

“I’d love to see more kids getting involved – more teams here,“ he said.

The young Cowboys fan said he really enjoyed the day out and getting to play against the team of police officers.

“It shows the police officers are fit,” he said.

The NRL Covid-safe plan was easily applied to the event, which was a joint initiative of Kingaroy Officer in Charge David Tierney, the Queensland Police Service, Queensland Police Rugby League, Rugby League Queensland, and other local police officers.