Thursday, July 11, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Local Young Boys Chosen To Represent Small Region On Big Fields

By Hannah McNamara

Two local boys, Sangwani Chinula and Lucas Haack from Mackay have captured the hearts of their community with their exceptional achievements in rugby league, earning esteemed positions in Queensland representative teams and showcasing their talent on a broader field.

Sangwani (also known as Sasa) was born in New Zealand, however, moved to Mackay at the age of two, embracing the region as his home while honing in on his rugby league dream. His hard work recently paid off when he was remarkably selected to play for the Queensland Maroons Under 15 team, following multiple standout performances. Sangwani then achieved the title of Man of the Match in the Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League (ASSRL) Championships where his impact was pivotal during a thrilling match.

Queensland secured a tight 22-16 victory and was said to have been like ‘a real State of Origin match.’ Sangwanis’ dedication to the sport extends beyond matches and his achievements are a testament to his rigorous training routine, supported by speed coach Tina from All Sports Speed and Endurance Training and the guidance of local rugby league coaches, Mick Muscat and Cookie Clarke. His journey and strong work ethic exemplifies the resilience and passion required to excel in regional sports, inspiring young athletes to pursue their goals relentlessly.

Sangwanis’ mother Kim Williams expressed that it was a great weekend in Port Macquarie despite the rain and said “the Queensland boys did really well, it’s really amazing for him to make it this far but it just goes to show that he’s worked really hard to get to where his is and I’m very proud of him.”

‘Lucas Haack, paralleling Sangwanis’ journey, has also carved a remarkable path in rugby league, now playing for Brothers Bulldogs under coach Clint Maye. Despite facing challenges along the way including a ligament tear just weeks before a crucial state carnival, Lucas persevered with determination and resilience. His efforts were rightfully recognised when he was selected for the Queensland White Team for his skill and unwavering perseverance.

Beginning his football journey at the age of five, Lucas's love for the sport has only deepened over the years, fuelled by the infinite support of his track coaches, gym trainers, sporting coaches and family. His consistent dedication reaped a captain position of the Capricornia team prior to his recent selection to play for the Queensland White team. These achievements display the rewarding outcome of consistent dedication in regional sports, encouraging others to follow in his footsteps.

Behind these two outstanding young boys lies a strong support network, including dedicated coaches and trainers who have played pivotal roles in their development through the local magpie league. Tina and Luke from ASSET have also provided immense guidance, ensuring Sangwani and Lucas receive comprehensive coaching across various aspects of their athletic development.
Nichole Haack, Lucas’ mother said “he just works really hard, he tries to perform the best he can to learn as much as possible with every avenue and we’re so proud of him.”

As Sangwani and Lucas continue to represent Mackay and Queensland on the rugby league field, their commitment is as an inspiration to young athletes, proving that with hard work and diligence, dreams can become a reality even from regional beginnings.

Two local young heroes: Sangwani Chinula and Lucas Haack take Mackay's rugby league dreams to state level. Images supplied

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