AUSTRALIA’S beef capital Rockhampton became the country’s rugby league heartland from June 26 to July 1, as 48 Catholic schools from across the state converged on The Cathedral College for the annual Confraternity Carnival.
Confraternity chairman and TCC director of sports Paul Dever said he had been involved in Confraternity carnivals for 23 years, first as a player, then as a coach, trainer, organiser and volunteer.
“I’m lucky to have experienced about every position Confraternity has to offer; I don’t think anything else could have prepared me for the responsibility of co-ordinating the event,” he said.
Mr Dever got the opportunity to head the carnival when his former school TCC, decided to host the event for the first time since 2008.
“With 2016 being the 25th anniversary of the college, principal Rob Alexander thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate the milestone and showcase how the college had grown since we last hosted,” he said.
Mr Dever said the organisation of the carnival was incredibly challenging, but praised the support team of TCC volunteers and work colleague and co-convenor Tim Murphy.
“We started preparations about 18 months out from the event, which is a fairly standard period, so fortunately we had all the systems in place to ensure a relatively smooth week,” he said.
“Once the carnival got underway everything went pretty much to plan, apart from rain starting at 9.28am for a 9.30 kick-off on our first day of competition, but there’s obviously nothing we can do about that.”
Mr Dever said the support for the carnival from the school and Rockhampton community was unprecedented, with record numbers of people turning out to experience the games live.
“I’ve had a number of people comment to me that it was some of the hardest, toughest rugby league they’ve seen, not only at schoolboy but club level,” he said.
“We had more than 2000 people in attendance for the final between champions St Ignatius, Townsville and runners up St Brendan’s Yeppoon, by far the most Victoria Park has hosted.”
In a first for Confraternity carnivals the TCC IT and technology department provided the equipment for a live stream of all games on the main field over the week, allowing families and fans alike to watch the action from all around the state.
By Isaac Murphy