CQ player's moment to remember playing against union legends
RUGBY LEAGUE: Alistar Hirst has a memory to cherish after last night's Classic Wallabies Rugby Festival in Rockhampton.
The CQ Barbarians winger scored the opening points against a star-studded Classic Wallabies outfit that featured nearly 500 Test caps and 1500 Super Rugby caps of experience.
Hundreds of spectators flocked to Victoria Park to see some legends of the game in action - and they were treated to a real spectacle.
As CQ Barbarians coach and former Samoan Test player Onehunga Mata'uiau said post-match, "when you've got it, you've got it”, and the Classic Wallabies showed they've still got it.
They turned on the razzle dazzle, with Andrew Walker a crowd favourite with his fleet footwork and precision passes.
CQ legend Stephen Moore returned to his old stamping ground to captain the team to a 50-39 victory.
The Wallabies scored five tries to two to lead 24-10 at the half-time break.
Moore got the scoring under way in the second half, running in the first of eight tries to be scored in the 25-minute stanza.
The Classic Wallabies got to a 45-10 lead before the CQ Barbarians scored four tries in quick succession to narrow the gap to 11 points.
The Classic Wallabies were in again, bringing up the half century, before the CQ Barbarians scored in the final minute of the game to make it 50-39.
The game capped an action-packed festival program, which also featured a kids coaching clinic, a schoolgirls sevens invitational tournament and a schoolboys match.
The crowd was also treated to some entertaining women's rugby, with Central Queenslanders and Classic Wallaroos also taking the field.
The two teams were combined, with the one playing as the CQ Barbarians running out 45-7 winners.
Classic Wallaroo Shirley Russell, who played for Australia in the 1990s, said it was a great contest.
She said it was also a great chance for the local players, who are more accustomed to playing sevens, to get a taste of the traditional 15-a-side game.
"The local girls have all come together and mixed it up with our Wallaroos and played some great rugby,” she said.
"It was very physical, it is a collision contact sport but the girls have all come off with smiles on their faces so that's what it's all about - total enjoyment.”
Moore said it was fantastic to be back in his old stamping ground and he was swarmed by fans keen to get photos and autographs.
"For me personally it's very special. This is where I grew up playing rugby as a kid and now you see the kids running around and maybe one day they can go on to play for their country,” he said.
"There's been a lot of people come up tonight and say I was your first coach or we played together in under-5s or things like that. That's pretty cool.”
He said the game was great fun and played in the right spirit.
He said the Classic Wallabies was a great way to give back to the game that had given him so much.
"Rugby's a great game and this is what brings people together.
"We had an awesome time in Rockhampton growing up and it's just nice to be back.”