Beaudesert Kingfishers coaches to start season as NRL mental health leaders

KICKING GOALS: The Kingfishers Open Women's team has gone from strength to strength with more females taking to the paddock this season. Photo: Melissa Frazer
KICKING GOALS: The Kingfishers Open Women's team has gone from strength to strength with more females taking to the paddock this season. Photo: Melissa Frazer

BEAUDESERT Kingfishers are set to start the 2021 NRL season bigger and stronger than ever.

The club will be the first rugby league club in Queensland to offer all coaches free mental health first aid training after U14s coach Nathan St Ledger suggested the idea.

St Ledger, who is involved with suicide prevention charity A Chance for Change said statistics in Australia were worrying, with one in three deaths of under-25s being suicides.

"We lose six men a day to suicide, it's the highest cause of death in under 44s and something needs to be done," he said. "All Kingfisher coaches will have nationally recognised qualification in mental health first aid by the time the season starts."

St Ledger said the course had space for 22 people, which would include coaches from U6 to open teams and team managers who wanted to take the course would be offered any spaces left. He said there was a lot of stigma around mental illness and people did not want to sit through another mental health talk offered by someone in suit and tie.

"We come from a life experience perspective to try and break that down.

"We want to empower people at the grass roots level ... coaches deal with players, parents and families."

An all girls carnival hosted at Willis Park set the tone for the coming season, with a growing number of female players of all ages taking up rugby league in Beaudesert.

Teams from U12s to open women's faced off against their equals from Logan Brothers Rugby League Club at the all-day event on March 28.

Club secretary Brenden Frazer said this year was the first time the Beaudesert Kingfishers had U12, U14, U18 and Open Women's teams playing in the same season.

"We got in touch with Logan Brothers, which is an absolute powerhouse of rugby league in south-east Queensland and they were very interested in having an all-girls day to celebrate women in rugby league," Frazer said. "We had a come and try day for girls in February and that got a really good response.

"We have about 80 women and girls now playing here, thanks to a lot of hard work from volunteers to get the game going in Beaudesert."