A HISTORY of rugby league played in the Burdekin district from its earliest days is to be launched later this year. Author Martin Grandelis completed writing a history of the Atherton Roosters in 2018 as part of that area’s 100-year anniversary.
“Seeing the old pics of rooster jerseys reignited an interest to write the history of rugby league in the Burdekin, so I made contact with past players, officials and supporters and started trawling through old papers and records in the State Library and Archives,” Martin recalled.
Rugby league started in Home Hill around 1920, with Zambuks, Cities, Osborne and Iyah as foundation clubs. By mid-1920s, Home Hill representative teams were a force in Country Carnivals and sometimes, the B grade competition.
A great Home Hill player from the 1930s was Roy Boxall, who came to Zambuks Club in 1932, after establishing himself as a dashing winger in the 1931 Bulimba Cup competition.
Roy Boxall made an immediate impact and along with other Home Hill players, Roy Backer and Bill Faulkner was selected in the NQ team that played England on 26 June 1932 at the Townsville Sports Reserve.
In 1933, Zambuks Club was again a major force in the Home Hill club competition. On May 10, 1933, Zambuks defeated Home Hill Colts by 13 – 8, with Roy Boxall again prominent.
In late May, 1933, Zambuks A grade team, including Roy Boxall defeated the Ayr representative team, 14 – 0 and Collinsville 27- 5. Roy appears to have played little football after 1933.
The name Boxall however would live on in the history of rugby league in Home Hill and the Burdekin.
The book includes a detailed profile of Roy as well as those of 60 other players, officials and referees and includes over 400 team photographs.
It also records the Ayr, Home Hill and Burdekin club and representative competitions, Grand Finals and more from the 1920s until 1986.