Tuesday night was a milestone moment for Team QLD, as athletes, coaches, and staff gathered together for the player presentation evening. It was the first time that the 170-strong touring party was together and was an opportunity for players across the different age groups to meet each other. Along with team building exercises, the athletes were also presented with their new Queensland State Kit and got to congratulate the Team Captains and Tour Captains who were announced on the night.
However, the highlight of the evening for all in attendance was a surprise speech by Queensland legend, Wally Lewis. Regarding as one of the best rugby league players, Wally spoke to a captured audience about what it means to play for Queensland and encouraged the players to play their best and with pride. “Congratulations on being selected to play for Queensland, this is an honour that you will remember for the rest of your lives. It’s an extremely proud thing to represent Queensland. It’s an opportunity to achieve the goals set in front of you, to do the very best that you can. Remember it’s as simple as ABC – Always Be Competitive. Never be tired of winning!”
Along with great stories from his career, he asked the athletes to give a 100% to practice, “Use each and every training session as a practice session of the game plan that you plan to employ. You use the moves and the set plays, they will be the ones that you will be using in the game, why not make sure they are 100% correct in training. Always listen to your coach, do plenty of talking and never be afraid to ask for help. If you want to get better always seek assistance to get to the next level.”
Wally also offered the youngsters some invaluable advice, “We often get asked how much do you want to win a game? Well if it’s not 100%, why bother going out there? Winning has to be part of your DNA and achieving it has to be common sense. It’s about trusting your mates all the way through, you’ve gotta have a want to win, display the will to win and if that happens, you will never have any excuses. You will have the determination to guarantee that you’re going to be at your best.”
It wouldn’t be a Queensland sporting moment without the iconic QLDER chant, which Wally led at the end of the evening and will surely fire up the touring team during the Sydney Youth Water Polo Festival. And just remember it’s as simple as ABC – Always Be Competitive!