THE GAME THEY PLAY IN HEAVEN
Rugby Union has been played in the Far North of Queensland for many decades. The sport and its competition are widely loved and adored in the North. The current focus is on growing the player numbers in all three competitions with a special interest in increasing the number of Women playing Rugby Union in Far North Queensland
The first record of a 15 mans-a-side football playied in FNQ was in 1886. One week a trial game was played and about 3 weeks later a Cairns side played Townsville in Cairns. It seems that the Cairns side “Out Scrimmaged” the Townsville side and eventually ran out winners. Unfortunately for Rugby fans, the scores are listed in “goals” and “ behinds”. It is still not known what game that was.
By 1894 there were four teams playing a regular competition in Cairns, these teams being Cairns, Blues, Railways & Nondescripts. This competition kept going until just after the first World War. All the assets etc then were made over to the Cairns Rugby League, who have continued to this day. Rugby Union was re-started in the late 60’s early 70’s but died out in the about 1972. Another revival started in 1975 with the formation of the present day FNQ Rugby Union. From 1975—1978 the Union played with just one Team having games against Townsville clubs and any visiting Navy ships. In 1977 the Union sent a team to Port Moresby, and played a game against the Port Moresby combined team. Although they lost 20-0, the Cairns squad certainly had a good time. During this early period, the Union was kept together by a small squad of people, including Peter Cryan, John “Tubby” Jekyll, Colin Bolt and Steve Parkes.
During 1978 the Cairns side played in the Townsville competition, but this was never likely to be successful due to the distances involved and the fact that most of the traveling must of necessity have been done by Cairns.
So, at the end of 1978, a team meeting decided to form a Cairns competition of four clubs. About 3-4 people each nominated club name and so the code was properly re-started. The current competition has altered the teams a little with the original clubs of Trinity and Barron River having amalgamated and the other originals, Teachers–Smithfield and Wanderers being joined by the Cairns Navy. These changes occurred in 1981.