Community connection the lifeblood of Mareeba

Way up in the north of our great barren land lies a small country town that has been punching above its weight for half a century.

Way up in the north of our great barren land lies a small country town that has been punching above its weight for half a century.

An hour west of Cairns you will find Mareeba, a regional locale with a population of around 7000 that embodies all that is great about the football community of Australia.

Each week the Mareeba Bulls bring the locals together as one as they cheer their team to ongoing success at home ground Borzi Park.

Having had some stellar seasons in the North Queensland competition they joined the Queensland State League in 2009 as the North Queensland representative and matched it with some of the state-s best throughout their four year stint in the competition.

With the institution of the National Premier League this year the club relocated to Cairns as the Far North Queensland Heat while the Bulls decided to stay in their community and give back to the people that have helped build the club into a family.

“The club did well in the State League making the finals in the final three of the four years we were in the competition which is great for a regional club.”

“Once the club relocated we decided that it was in the local community-s interest to remain in Mareeba and focus on local talent, developing juniors in our area, rejuvenating numbers and increasing our coaching philosophy,” said club president Alex Srhoj.

These strong ties that the club has built with the community has helped to steadily grow the love of the game in Mareeba.

“The community is definitely passionate about their football in Mareeba. Long before my time, my predecessors built a strong culture at the club that has focused on including the community.

“The club has always punched above its weight with the likes of Frank Farina and my cousin Wayne (Melbourne Heart) going on to bigger and better things after being with the Bulls.

“During the years we were in the state league we would get massive crowds and we still continue to get above average crowds to this seasons games and have hosted some NPL fixtures here that have attracted five to six hundred people.”

With many of their stars heading west to play in the NPL the Bulls did have a few of their old heads remain at the club.

“We continued to move forward this year and have had some senior players come back into the squad including State League captain Victor Madrid along with Wayne.

“These guys were all from the same era and gave their life to the franchise. They all now have family commitments now and chose to remain with the club and be close to home.”

Alex-s cousin Wayne Srhoj, who had stints overseas and at Perth Glory and Melbourne Heart, is one of those to remain in Mareeba and help push through the next generation of stars.

“He is one of the senior players who is doing all he can to give back to the club that helped with the first steps towards his career.

“Like all the senior players, Wayne loves spending time with the juniors and epitomises what the Mareeba Bulls is about - uniting the club and community as a family.”

With the focus now on junior development the club has already helped some young guns move closer to careers in football.

“We have pushed some of our younger players into the NPL team which has been great for them and will give them the pathway to professional football.

“The Bulls have also helped the likes U-17 squad member Nicholas Panetta and Logan Grillo who are currently with the Queensland Academy of Sport.”

The Bulls currently sit second on the ladder behind the Marlin Coast Rangers on goal difference with two games remaining.

They play fourth placed Stratford Dolphins this week away before returning home for the final round against Far North Queensland FC where they will be hoping to add another trophy to their cabinet.