As a precocious 11-year-old, Gold Coast Titan, Queensland and Australian rugby league representative, David Fifita had a plan to dominate.
“Yeah I want to be a rugby player because I watch a lot of rugby league and know about it and I got a scholarship down at Keebra Park State High school,” a very young David Fifita declared at the time.
The Inala youngster understood the value of good health and education, which had been instilled upon him, through attendance at his very first Deadly Choices leadership camp for young, aspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys and girls.
Fast track just four short years later and the teenager claimed an initial step towards achieving his lofty goals; a coveted Maroons cap with the Queensland Under 16 Murri team, at the completion of the 2016 ABF QAIHC Queensland Murri Carnival.
Assisting to launch this year’s 10-year anniversary event, which was cancelled last year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Renouf was joined by a host of high achieving Indigenous Australians including NRL Commissioner, Professor Megan Davis and fellow Deadly Choices Ambassadors Petero Civoniceva, Tracey Thompson, Willie Tonga, Justin Hodges, Bo de la Cruz and Rhonda Purcell.
Fifita is an avid supporter of Deadly Choices and pays credit to event organisers of the ABF QAIHC Queensland Murri Carnival who ensure all participants complete a 715 Health Check. Junior participants are also involved in other health education initiatives as a part of the event, which will be played at Albany Creek Crushers from September 20-25 this year.
“Anything’s possible, you know for myself growing up it was really hard. We didn’t have much growing up in a rough situation, so I can relate to young Indigenous kids doing it tough now, I know how that feels,” confirmed Fifita.
“You just got to keep your head focused, keep moving forward, surround yourself with good people and always try to make the right decisions.”
“It’s a huge thing getting the word out there about healthy living to all mob out in community. I’ve done a bit of work with Deadly Choices in the past, doing filming with Steve Renouf and being involved in community events,” added the powerhouse Titans forward.
“I always try to do my best for the community, I want people to look up to me as a proud Aboriginal Tongan man coming up from where I come from, and understand that anything’s possible. You get the right people around you to support and anything’s possible.”
The Arthur Beetson Foundation (ABF) continues to expand its rugby league pathways with the intention this year to reward all underage divisions as players vie for Queensland merit team honours in Under 13, 15 and 17 boys grades, plus Under 15 and 17 girls.
Under 15 boys will continue to compete for State selection in the Under 16 Murri team to take on a Koori outfit in their annual interstate pre-season challenge next year.
The Queensland Rugby League enjoys a comprehensive partnership with Deadly Choices and sees great potential in the expanded opportunities available for statewide underage participants.
It’s also hoped that a focus on recruiting players from Queensland’s premier Intrust Super Cup competition into their related home regions of the State, will make for a true 10th anniversary cultural celebration during the 2021 Murri Carnival at Albany Creek Crushers later in the year.
QRL Managing Director Robert Moore said today’s announcement was an important one for the game.
“The ABF QAIHC Queensland Murri Carnival is a significant annual event for many communities who love their rugby league,” Moore said.
“As custodians of the game, we pride ourselves on providing opportunities for male and female participants across the state.
“That’s why we are delighted to support this carnival and welcome the new initiatives which have the potential to unearth more future stars of our game like David Fifita.”
For event organisers, the injection of more Pathways support and a focus on regional representation will make this year’s ABF Murri Carnival a must-do for Queensland communities.
The Chair of the ABF Steven Johnson said the great man, Arthur Beetson would be very proud to see the Carnival that he helped Tony Currie start, reach the level that it has today.
“The QMC was never started to be just about the game, but more about culture and enriching lives and when we lost Arthur it was important we didn’t lose the affect he had so many people; the QMC does that.”
Serious side to ABF QAIHC Queensland Murri Carnival
The State-wide carnival, to be held from September 20-25, is a smoke-free, alcohol-free and sugar-free event, requiring participants to have their 715 health checks up to date, adults enrolled to vote, while youngsters also need a 90% school attendance rate.
Local, State and Federal funding, coupled with the valued support of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), Moreton Bay Regional Council, Queensland Rugby League (QRL) and QUT, sees the annual showpiece return to Albany Creek Crushers for the 10-year celebration.
“The Murri Carnival is a major health promotion event in Queensland and contributes to increased health literacy and access to primary and preventative health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It’s so much more than just a football carnival”, said CEO of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), James William.
“The Murri Carnival achieves significant health and education outcomes, and the requirements for all participants to have a health check and those of school age to maintain a high level of school attendance emphasise the important messaging which underpins the event.
“QAIHC is proud to sponsor the Queensland Murri Carnival and its contribution to closing the gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
League legend and Albany Creek Crushers President Justin Hodges said he couldn’t wait to watch the action unfold later in the year.
“I don’t think I’m being too bold in saying the Queensland Murri Carnival will be bigger and better in 2021,” he said.
“It’s a pleasure to welcome players and spectators from across the State back to Albany Creek Crushers to celebrate the carnival’s 10 year anniversary.
“I’ve been a proud supporter of the event for many years now both as a player and parent.
“This is a fantastic event that encourages education and health through sport, an inspiring message everyone can take home with them.
“This event draws a crowd of thousands over the six days of competition, and this year we look forward to welcoming even more people following the events of the past 12 months.
Registrations are now open for the ABF QAIHC Queensland Murri Carnival so team coaches and managers are encouraged to ensure all their players are up-to-date with their 715 Health Checks, adults currently enrolled to vote, while youngsters maintain a 90% school attendance rate.
If not, book in for your 715 at your local Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS), before going online to register for the QMC at www.murrirugbyleague.com.au