Something Special This Way Comes

Beneath the benevolent, watchful gaze of the mighty Walsh’s Pyramid in Gordonvale, Far North Queensland, something is stirring in the sporting undergrowth. This is a sugar town with a proud heritage, and a heritage that has been heavily linked to Rugby League for decades. Other sport is played – the people of town and district thrive on it – but any town that makes roadside signs to honour their own League hero, Nate Myles, is a league town.


But it hasn’t always been that way and from the late ’50s to the early ’70s the Gordonvale/Aloomba area had Australian Rules football teams (under a variety of names and combinations) in the early AFL Cairns competitions. Those teams faded into history – not extinct, simply dormant.


By 2005 a new presence arrived on the footy scene with Pyramid Power juniors entering the competitions and based in Gordonvale. Only last year they gained a reserve grade team, and that team will now play in their first finals series after just two seasons. It is a great example of how the game is returning to the area in a big way.


Also this year, in the year of the inaugural AFL Women’s league, Power introduced their Under 14 girls team to a new competition – the first club to have a team ready, such has been the AFL renaissance in the district.


But sneaking up and taking everyone by surprise has been another force – younger again but far more potent. The Gordonvale State School girls team – all aged between 10-12 years – won enough matches in May’s Queensland Schools Cup to advance as the Far North Queensland representative at the North Queensland Championships this week.


Playing against the best primary school teams from Townsville (Annandale State School) and Rockhampton (Taranganba State School) – Mackay did not field a team – the very worst that could happen was lose both matches on the day and be the third best team from Rockhampton to Torres Strait and west to the Northern territory border.


But these Gordonvale girls had other ideas. They downed Annandale by 23 points and then Taranganba by 32 points. Comprehensively, the girls won their way to the Queensland State Titles to be held in Maroochydore in October.


They have achieved something Cairns region schools rarely do – in any sport. The school saw a girls team reach the NQ Championships in 2013, but they went down then (to Annandale). This year’s crop has gone further than any before it.


They literally sit just two wins away from being the best primary school girls team in the state of Queensland. But that is two games against the highest level talent in the state. But even a worst case scenario of two losses would see them as one of the four best in the state…not a bad consolation prize.


It is said, in a bedding parlance, that in Gordonvale the Rugby League and Australian Rules codes are strange bedfellows that get along OK. Granted that at times the Aussie Rules crew believe that the League crew hog the blankets a bit too much. But that’s OK, as when the League crew aren’t looking, the Aussie Rules crew run in and short-sheet the bed.


Despite how well the Pyramid Power club is doing, the Gordonvale State School girls are now enjoying success on an even higher level – state level. They are really something special.


Just at the moment, in the beautiful town of Gordonvale, those girls are doing more than their fair share of short-sheeting.


And Walsh’s Pyramid looks down serenely, ever so slightly smiling over these girls.


Read more of Wesley’s work on the resurgence of footy in Far North Queensland here and here.

About Wesley Hull

Passionate lover of Australian Rules football. Have played and coached the game and now spend my time writing about the game I love and introducing young people to the game through school coaching. Will try and give back to the game what it has given me for more that 40 years.


  1. Mick Jeffrey says

    Taranganba is based at Yeppoon, half an hour’s drive East of Rockhampton and is the home of the top club side in the region (more on that later). That school is from my understanding only about 20-25 years old and is one of a handful of primary schools on the Capricorn Coast.

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