by Jacob Wilson
AFL: Competitors arrived at the Bald Eagles AFL carnival as opponents, but they left as team mates.
This was the motto of the six teams that went head to head at the Whitsunday Sportspark during the Easter weekend for the annual Tropical Masters Cup as they lifted the spirits of spectators.
Players from Brisbane to Cairns were distributed into teams, including the Shirt-fronters, Water Rats, Desperados, Pirates, Jokers and Gators.
Bald Eagles president Jack Lumby said it was a weekend of exceptional football played in the right spirit.
"It was very encouraging, full of mateship and great to see the local players with a smile and a laugh by Sunday,” he said.
Saturday featured round robin games between the six sides, with the top four teams playing for glory on Sunday.
The Water Rats and Shirt-fronters competed for first and second place while the Desperados and Pirates struggled it out for for third and fourth.
The Shirt-fronters narrowly took out the competition 31-26, but Lumby said it came down to the last few minutes.
"The lead changed hands several times and it was down to the second last kick of the day,” he said.
While first and second place came with a $500 and $250 prize respectively, both were donated back to the Bald Eagles club to support players preparing for the Queensland Country Championships to be held in Townsville in May.
Lumby said spectators appreciated the range of talent on the field.
"It was an opportunity to take our mind off the constant pressure of recovery and getting things back to normal after a chaotic couple of weeks,” he said.
"People in town and my players have been running on adrenalin for the last couple of weeks, which has put our bodies through extreme fatigue and tiredness, a weekend like this has eased the anger and pain.”
Bald Eagles training runs on Wednesdays from 5.30pm and people are welcome to come to the Whitsunday Sportspark to kick a football and have a chat.