Taking out the 2021 Rugby League Battle of the Gulf in an electrifying win over Kowanyama in an outstanding display of skills was pretty special however capping it off by winning the NQ Sportstar of the year Sporting Excellence award has inspired this small island community to believe in themselves once more.
A finalist in the Team of the Year award, the Mornington Island Raider’s team travelled to Charters Towers to attend the 2021 North Queensland Sportstar awards, the first formal event many of the players had ever attended.
Blown away by the gala event the team were simply delighted to be nominated so when their name was called out as the winner of the Sporting Excellence award they exploded with joy “their faces were epic, you could just see the joy! We went live on our Facebook page and the whole community in Mornington were just going mad crazy – they didn’t think it was possible! The Sportstar award has shown our community what you can achieve when you set your sight on a goal, that’s been huge for our community, bringing hope back.” said Violet Taulanga, Mornington Shire Council Community Development Officer who attended the event with the team.
“I think getting the tap on the back for having a win was a big step in getting the community to realise the positive outcomes that we can get when we work as a team and represent where we come from. There are so many ways that playing sport can help to build up our community and bring more positivity” said Lagilagi Seruvatu, Raiders team member and Junkuri Laka Youth Program Coordinator.
Created sometime in the 1980’s the Mornington Island Raiders have had their share of highs and lows, with epic grand final victories, sporadic teams, low motivation and continually facing significant challenges just to get the team on the field. Simply travelling to the games, which are played in Normanton in clusters over three separate weekends, is a mission itself, with teams having to fly to Doomadgee, then travel 2 hours by bus to play two or 3 games, then complete the same in return. “Financially paying for all the flights, accommodation, bus hire and everything else is a big challenge” said Taulanga. “Winning this award has meant we have attracted a lot of positive attention, which will hopefully get us some sponsors that mean we can travel to other competitions, expand our reach and lessen some of those initial challenges”
If you are interested in sponsoring the Mornington Island Raiders please contact Violet Taulanga on 0459 213 737 or firstname.lastname@example.org