WHEN naming the powerhouses of association football in Central Queensland it might be time to stop thinking of clubs in just Rockhampton and Gladstone.
Over the weekend the annual Ces Babbage carnival was played at Bluebirds Webber Park and in good weather the youngsters, in the under-12 age group, shone as strongly as the sun.
While the host club had teams in the competition along with Frenchville, Nerimbera, Capricorn Coast and Gracemere, it was Callide Black that turned out to be the surprise package.
Callide nominated two teams in the 10-team competition with the Black side doing particularly well.
Having won its pool matches, the team then progressed through the semis and into the final where they faced reigning champion Capricorn Coast.
Bluebirds president Simon Ross said in a competitive match with the Coast, Callide retained the edge it had in pool play and won by 2-1.
While victory for Callide is a good measure of the improvement, another pointer is the quality of the team's top player, Cormac McCarthy, who was named the player of the carnival.
Ross said naming the best player from a 10-team event was a tough job and it came down to two players the judges had to adjudicate on.
He said there was little between McCarthy and Biloela Valley's Kye Geall and so a number of spotters were deployed while the pair were playing in their respective major semi-final matches.
"The decision on the player of the carnival comes down to how well they influenced the games," Ross said.
"It is the impact they have on the match."
What impressed the judging panel was the way McCarthy moved from a defensive position and into midfield where he was able to direct proceedings for his teammates.
"He changed the dimension of the game," Ross said.
The Bluebirds president was not too unhappy his club did not feature in the finals.
"Our players were aged 10 and 11," he said.
A Rockhampton team did manage to feature on the winners list with Frenchville taking out the 3rd/4th final with a victory over Biloela Valleys.
Frenchville had earlier won its pool, finishing ahead of Biloela and repeated that form with a 1-0 victory in the final.