BRISBANE JUNIOR RUGBY LEAGUE
The year 1954 was a significant one for Rugby League in the Brisbane area.
The most significant event in the year was the signing of a 21 year lease with the Brisbane City Council on the Lang Park site. At last Rugby League had a home of its own in Queensland. Prior to the development of Lang Park, most major games in the capital were played at the Brisbane Cricket Ground.
The other significant event in the same year was the formation of the Brisbane Junior Rugby League.
Three years previously, the Brisbane Rugby League, Junior Division was formed to provide competitions for players coming out of school football. A lot of boys left school earlier than they do today but there was little organised rugby league for them to play except for Under 17 and Under 18 Grades attached to senior clubs. This body was a sub-committe of the Brisbane Rugby League. The foundation clubs of this sub competition were: Souths, Valleys, Easts, Wests Ithaca, Wests Toowong, Wynnum Manly and Norths.
In 1954 the Brisbane Junior Rugby League was formed as a separate body to the seniors, with member clubs: Brothers, Norths, Wynnum Manly, Souths, Valleys, Wests Ithaca, Sandgate, Wests Toowong, Wests Police Boys, Cannon Hill Stars and delegates from BRL and BRL Referees. The new body fielded teams in 15-16 years, Under 17, Under 19 and Under 20 competitions.
In 1955 Teachers Training College and Guardian Angels also fielded teams in competitions and in 1956 Wests Ithaca and Wests Poilce Boys combined to become Wests. The competitions played in 1956 were expanded to include Under 15 (8 stone), Under 15, Under 16, Under 17, Under 18 and Under 20.
In 1957 an Under 14 competition was added and new clubs Souths Graceville and Wests Mitchelton joined the Association. The next two years were amazing growth years for the Brisbane Junior Rugby League with Norths Chermside, Brothers Moorooka, Souths Inala and Easts Carina joining in 1958 and Everton Park, Police Cadets, Wests Brookfield, Souths Coopers Plains, Easts Mount Gravatt, Norths Kedron, Redcliffe and Brothers Padua joining in 1959.
As the new decade dawned the competitions had expanded to cover Under 14, Under 14 (6 stone), Under 15, Under 16, Under 17, Under 18 and Under 20 age groups and the first year of the decade also saw three new clubs join, Brothers St.James, Wests Waratas and Norths Bald Hills.
In 1961 Brothers Moorooka was renamed Brothers St.Brendans and two new teams joined, Brothers St.Vincents and Redcliffe Pine Rivers. In 1962 an Under 12 (5st. 7lbs) grade was added and Norths Cribb Island, University, Easts Holland Park and Kingsford-Smith Valleys fielded teams for the first time.
In 1965 the BJRL fielded competitions in Under 11, Under 12, Under 13, Under 14, Under 15, Under 16, Under 17 and Under 18 grades. Additional clubs to join the Association since 1962 were: Easts East-Brisbane (1963), Redcliffe Cabolture, Valley United Stars and Souths Darra (1964). In 1965 Wests Toowong merged with Wests and played out of Gilbert Park, Red Hill.
From 1966 a Minor League for younger players wanting to play more than their school season was introduced and by 1969 this had been expanded to Under 7, Under 8 Under 9 and Under 10 competitions. So for the first time the BJRL ran competitions in all grades from Under 7 - Under 18.
The population of Brisbane and surrounding areas was growing and new estates opened up with the beginning of the 1970s. In 1970, Wests Arana Hills and Souths Woodridge joined the League. The last half of the sixties saw clubs established at Brothers St.Marks (Inala)(1966), Norths St.Josephs and Norths Sandgate (1967), Norths Aspley, Souths Sunnybank (1968)and Norths Brighton (1969).
This growth continued into the 1970s, with Wynnum-Manly Slacks Creek, Wynnum-Manly Redlands and Souths-Beaudesert joining in 1971 and Wynnum-Manly Beenleigh, Norths Banyo and Wests Kenmore establishing clubs in 1972.
At the end of the 1974 season the count of clubs stood at 34, fielding 315 teams in 36 divisions within the twelve age groups. Of these 34 clubs at the end of the 1974 season, 26 still exist in the current League of 44 clubs.
These clubs are Brothers, St.Brendans, Easts, Carina, Mount Gravatt, Norths, Aspley, Banyo, Brighton, St.Josephs, Redcliffe, Pine Rivers, Souths, Graceville (Southern Cross), Inala, Sunnybank, Valleys, Valley Stars, Wests, Arana Hills, Mitchelton, Wynnum Manly, Beenleigh, Cannon Hill, Redlands, Slacks Creek.
In 1977 teams first took the field at the Maine Terrace Sports Complex for the Deception Bay Wanderers. The club has become a strong force in the north and now plays its games from a modern complex at Government Road. Teams from the Deception Bay Club are now outfitted in Maroon and Gold and are known as the Raiders.
In 1978, Springwood joined the League. Originally a senior club, formed in 1973 playing in the green and red of Wynnum-Manly, Springwood joined the juniors under the Eastern Suburbs banner as Easts-Springwood. Around this time Brothers St Peters also joined the league playing out of a venue behind the Glen Hotel in Rochedale before relocating to the Rochedale Road sports complex around 1981.
In 1979 teams played out of the Woodridge area as Brothers St.Pauls. From these early beginnings, the strong Logan Brothers club has evolved. Now playing out of fields at Civic Park, Logan Brothers has become one of the largest clubs in the league.
In late 1979 the Waterford Club was established and played its first games out of Noffke Farm Park (now Noffke Park)which boasts two intenational and one mini field.
In 1979, a meeting was held to form the Holy Spirit Club. They wanted to play out of Strathpine but were denied entry into the League because of their proximity to the Pine Rivers Club. Initially they played out of Corbett Park. In 1981 the club was admitted to the League in its own right and from 1987 has played out of the current ground at Bray Park.
Capalaba entered the BJRL competition in 1985, fielding four teams from Under 7s to Under 13s at the Mooroondu Road Sportsfields, Thornside. Now a thriving club with over 20 teams Capalaba play on grounds at John Frederick Oval and boast a fine clubhouse which overlooks the main field.
In 1985, Dayboro Club entered three junior teams in the BJRL Competition. Set in great surroundings with a clubhouse perched high above the grounds, a visit to Dayboro is always enjoyable.
Burpengary JRLFC was formed in 1984 and first fielded four teams in the competition in 1985. The club has gradually improved the grounds and now has a fine complex including a great clubhouse.
Rochedale started as the Brothers Rochedale and the club plays out of the sporting complex at Underwood Road, Underwood. Originally playing in a ditinctive Green & Gold strip, Rochedale now play in bold Gold and Black stripes and have a strong base in the League.
Stradbroke first fielded teams in 1986 with 5 teams. A great trip for young visiting teams, who love the ferry ride to Dunwich, Stradbroke is unique in being the only club not based on the mainland.
In 1989 Centenary entered teams in 5 age groups from Under 7 - Under 17s, with around 70 players. In 1995, they began playing out of their current home at Warrender Road, Darra. The club has grown to one of the strongest in the League and in 2004 the club has registered over 330 junior players.
In 1988 the Mustangs JRLFC was formed and initially the Greenbank and Mustangs clubs played as a united club fielding teams for the first time in 1989. Now in a distinctive stip of Blue, White and Red, the Mustangs are a strong force in junior rugby league.
In 1990 Greenbank fielded teams in its own right, playing in the from the Greenbank Sports and Recreation reserve. A very competitive club from the start, Greenbank have gathered a swag of premierships and president's flags over the years.
The Albany Creek Attackers took the field for the first time in 1991. In 1994 they affiliated with the South Queensland Crushers and a change of colours and strip to the current blue and gold. The Albany Creek Crushers now play out of the fine South Pine Sports Complex.
A club with a long history in senior sub-districts and Second Division football, the Samford Stags play in great surroundings at Main Street, Samford. Those who played against Samford in the early days will remember the goal posts which were cut from young trees growing nearby. Now the club boasts a fine clubhouse and bar overlooking the field.
Browns Plains Bears are a strong club with a modern clubhouse and fields at Grovesner Park, Browns Plains. The club has always been strong on the field and has a number of premierships to its credit.
Edens Landing was born in 1993 as a senior club but in 1994 fielded junior teams in Under 7-10 age groups. The club has a proud record for a club with a relatively short history and plays out of Leighton Fields, Edens Landing.
Forest Lake first played fixtures in 1997 on fields at Forest Lake. They now play out of grounds at Carole Park. A small club with a family atmosphere, Forest Lake is currently rebuilding numbers with assistance from Souths Juniors.
The Brisbane Junior Rugby League cared for local competitions for 50 years. Member clubs had recognised that a change was needed to grow the game into the 21st Century and the BJRL was wound up at a meeting at Cannon Hill on Friday, 27 February 2004.
A new body encompassing the demographics of the juniors in South East Queensland was established in March 2004. The QRL South East Division Juniors boasted member clubs from Brisbane, Redcliffe and Logan Cities and the Pine and Caboolture Shires.
In 2004 there were around 9,700 players from 44 clubs from Dayboro in the north to Beenleigh in the south, to bayside Wynnum and Redcliffe in the east and Carole Park (Forest Lake Club)in the west. The players in the biggest junior league in Australia were watched by over 30,000 proud parents and friends each weekend.
In 2005 we have introduced a new club at Narangba and player numbers are at an all time record high. We are fielding over 630 teams from the 45 clubs, with over 10,000 players participating.
In 2007, the popularity of rugby league skyrocketed and the number of participating players hit 12,204.
The Centenary of Rubgy League, 2008, was a similarly good year for junior rugby league, with 12,197 players signed on across 736 teams. On a personal note for the Greater Brisbane Junior Rugby League, the Stingers website (www.stingers.net.au) was upgraded and also included the introduction of The Hive, the Stingers Business directory.
2009 continued the busy pattern with a number of developments in junior rugby league. The QRL moved offices back to Suncorp Stadium and there were a number of new competitions, including the Cyril Connell and Mal Meninga Cups for Under 16s and Under 18s as well as a new Under 6s competition.
2010 saw the introduction of the QRL South East Division representative sides for Under 13 and Under 14. Those chosen went on to represent the GBJRL as the Poinsettias at the State Championships in Rockhampton. This expanded the already successful representative ‘Stingers’ teams in the older age groups.
2011 was a tough year due to cyclonic weather conditions and extreme rainfall. The GBJRL offices at Suncorp Stadium saw flood waters rise above desk tops with the subsequent loss of office equipment. A temporary move to other accommodation and the hard work of the management committee and admin staff meant the season still got under way, though some clubs also struggled to overcome the conditions. Most notably St Brendans and South Graceville were disastrously affected.
2012 after the floods of a year before the new year was positively smooth. Clubs were giver greater access to the database and a more automised registration system. On the playing side the Under 12 grade was added to the official refereeing services.
2013 A joint policy between the GBJRL and the Brisbane Rugby League Referees Association was launched ‘Be Positive or Be Quiet’ to continue the good sportsmanship and personal responsibility push. The representative Poinsettias and Stingers teams showed a marked improvement.
2014 This year we welcomed two new affiliates, The Flagstone Phoenix and Russell Island Stingrays. Flagstone fielded an Under6, Under8 and a joint team with Mustangs in the Under18 Girls. Russell Island Fielded teams in Under 6, 8, 10 and 12 a very positive start for both clubs. Total participation for the GBJRL exceeds 12,500 players. Shine Lawyers come on board as Platinum Sponsors for all competitions. The ‘Be Positive or Be Quiet’ initiative continues and player participation has increased over the last ten years from just below 10,000 to around 12,500. A strong 25%growth.