BIG HITTER: Broncos player Tevita Pangai Jr (pictured) will join Matthew Lodge, Joe Ofahengaue, Tom Dearden, Mick Hancock and Justin Hodges at a free public barbecue at Weeroona Park.
BIG HITTER: Broncos player Tevita Pangai Jr (pictured) will join Matthew Lodge, Joe Ofahengaue, Tom Dearden, Mick Hancock and Justin Hodges at a free public barbecue at Weeroona Park. Albert Perez

Broncos ride in: Club aim to lift town spirits

WHEN young children put on their boots and jog onto the footy pitch, they leave their problems on the sidelines.

Thoughts of their parents dealing with drought, bushfire and financial hardship fade as they focus on the game ahead.

That dynamic is set to receive a boost when the Brisbane Broncos ride into Stanthorpe tomorrow.

Players Matthew Lodge, Tevita Pangai Jr, Joe Ofahengaue, Tom Dearden, Mick Hancock and Justin Hodges will join about 30 club staff at a free barbecue in Weeroona Park.

Stanthorpe Gremlins president Lindsay Adams said the visit would put smiles on many young faces.

"It is awesome for the community and great for the Gremlins,” he said.

"We are a little bush club and to have an NRL team come to town is a big win.”

Despite the raging bushfires and unending drought, spirits at the club are high.

"The footy club is a bit of relative peace,” he said.

"Kids come here, hang out with their mates and forget about their problems.

"Footy is a good grounder.”

The Broncos made the decision to visit Stanthorpe as fires threatened the town earlier this month.

"Most of us in the club are from regional Queensland and we have all dealt with natural disasters, fires, floods and cyclones,” community manager Christine Halliwell said.

"We all have an affinity with rural people and we have a connection with the Southern Downs from our trial game in February.”

The Broncos will be at Weeeroona Park from 11am-2pm on Wednesday. All are welcome.

There will be a free barbecue, footy drills and team mascot Buck will have a bundle of merchandise to give away.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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