Bryan Kirkland Cup Brings His Great Grandsons to the Field
Sixteen teams from eight schools contested the Bryan Kirkland Cup in Singleton last week and two players need special mention.
Singleton Public School’s Jaek Dunston and Muswellbrook Public School’s Blayze Solman are the great grandsons of Bryan Kirkland and both said it was an honour to be taking part in a competition named after a man better known in rugby league circles as Wimpy.
The competition began more than 30 years ago, and while Bryan passed away in early 2022, his family are proud that the competition continues in his name.
Bryan established the Kirkland Cup, a competition instigated to provide a one-day, full-on experience for students aged 10 to 12 at country schools to play rugby league. Many of these students have never had the opportunity to play the game, let alone amidst the excitement of a gala day format. Bryan was known to borrow footy boots for the rookie youngsters and if he couldn’t borrow them, he would buy them.
This format developed into a gala day for every primary school in the Upper Hunter.
Interviewing Wimpy on one of these days and his smile was as wide as ever. He commented that it was such a pleasure seeing kids, boys and girls, run onto the field for the first time and discovering a love for a new sport. He often had a chuckle at the antics on the field of these new players.
He would have been smiling from above to see the 240 kids take to the field, especially his great grandsons in Singleton last week.
Both Jaek and Blayze play for their respective towns and were delighted to step back on the junior league field, now that the season proper is over.
NRL Ground 21 game development officer Corey Ridley said the event was about fostering a love of the game and for the players to have fun.
Winners were voted on by game officials with sportsmanship the key to taking home the Bryan Kirkland Cup.
Under 10s was won by St Catherine’s Catholic College of Singleton
Under 12s was won by a combination of students from St Mary’s in Scone and St Joseph’s Denman.