OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME: Gianni Campisi's winning design will give his Emu Park under 11 team-mates the chance to run on as mascots at Townsville's Rugby League World Cup, but they need funding help to get them there.
OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME: Gianni Campisi's winning design will give his Emu Park under 11 team-mates the chance to run on as mascots at Townsville's Rugby League World Cup, but they need funding help to get them there. Trish Bowman

Great opportunity - but players need community

COMMUNITY leaders have chipped in to help the Emu Park under 11s Junior Rugby League team run on the field at this year's World Cup in Townsville in November, but the players still need help to achieve the once-in-a- lifetime experience.

Gianni Campisi, 11, from Emu Park won the chance to make his, and 16 of his team mates', dreams come true by running out as mascots at one of this year's Rugby League World Cup games being held in Townsville on November 5.

Gianni, who plays in the under 11s Junior League for Emu Park, entered a design a jersey competition for the Rugby World Cup through Play NRL.

It was a dream come to life when he received a call to say he had won the competition with his design for an Italian team jersey.

With little time to spare, the team needed to raise $6000 to pay for accommodation and transport to the big game.

With generous donations from CQ Drilling & Sawing, JRT Civil construction, Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig's discretionary fund and some fundraising, the group has already raised just over $2000 with a further $4000 to make the dream a reality.

CQ Drilling & Sawing owner Rick Evans said he was happy to tip some money into the coffers to help the team of youths make the trip.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that these young footballers will never forget,” Mr Evans said.

"They will not only get to run on to the field in a world class game as mascots, they will also get to be inspired by high level athletes who can demonstrate just what can be achieved by dedication and passion for their chosen sport.

"I would like to encourage other businesses to donate to see these young lads achieve their goal.”

Gianni's mother Melissa said her son was so excited for his team that they would be given the opportunity to meet their idols at such a high calibre match.

"Gianni is such a thoughtful boy, his team are the only junior Central Queensland team to be offered the chance to realise this dream,” Melissa said.

If you can help the under 11s Emu Park Junior Rugby League team to represent the area at the World Cup contact Melissa Campisi on 0413 356 072.