No one does tough with more resilience than Sportscover Clubbies Award winners, Blackall Magpies.
The iconic Queensland outfit won back-to-back premierships for the first in more than 60 years in June when they dismissed Winton Diamantina Devils 18-0 in the rugby league central west decider.
It caps off a stunning string of achievements for the proud grassroots club which has shrugged off crippling drought to emerge stronger than ever.
With nominations open for the next instalment of the Clubbies Awards, Inside Sport decided it was time to check in with the 2019 Best Club winners to bask in the good vibes flowing from the remote community, 960km out of Brisbane.
“Mate we had a wonderful season again,” says club president Phil "Flop" Rooney. “The secret to our success? Everything we ever spoke about – the whole town’s behind us, the sponsors, the supporters. We’ve got a great club.”
No arguments here. Last year the Magpies matched their on-field success with an off-pitch bonanza, picking up League’s best club awards at the Central, Queensland and NRL divisions.
Rooney adds: “Then to go and win the Clubbies like that – last year was something, well I don’t think will be repeated for a long, long time.” The club stalwart was among the winners honoured at a presentation luncheon attended by sports industry leaders, where the club picked up Bauerfeind vouchers, leading specialists in compression gear.
But Clubbies is not about the team with the most trophies. It rewards courage, determination, inspiration and commitment to grassroots sport. The Magpies have been described as “lifesavers” in their drought-stricken community, bringing hope in difficult times. This year they also managed to donate about $15,000 for the Heart Foundation. Check out their inspiring story on Facebook: @BlackallMagpie.
When we last spoke to the club there was some dark clouds building over Blackall, which is always good news in that part of the world. Planning ahead, Rooney adds: “Here’s hoping we go on again – do the threepeat, and get some rain, if only we could win that.”
Nominations in the 2020 Sportscover Clubbies close on February 14.