by Tom Daunt
RUGBY LEAGUE: For many of Gympie's junior rugby league players, running out on to the hallowed turf of Albert Park under lights for a game of footy was only something their fathers and older brothers reminisced about at family barbecues.
That will all change tonight when the iconic ground hosts hundreds of Gympie's budding league stars.
Gympie Junior Rugby League president Ben Dore said the permanent relocation from Jack Stokes Oval for the 2017 season was a matter of logistics.
"Previously as a club we were spread out over three days (Friday night, Saturday and Sunday),'' Dore said.
"They only way we could have the whole club together was play at Albert Park under lights.
"It also has the added benefit of being exciting for the kids,” he said.
Many of Gympie's rugby league faithful still regard Albert Park as the spiritual home of the sport in town.
Dore thinks tonight's games, which will be followed by a junior league carnival tomorrow, are a positive step for the Devils as a club.
"It will get a lot of people together,” he said
"The majority of the junior league community will be in the one place.
"As a club it is exciting, particularly from a mini-mods perspective.
"All we want to do is encourage juniors to play their footy in town and make sure there is something there for them.
"It is particularly exciting for kids that have not played teams from out of town.”
All the junior league action kicks off tonight from 5.30pm with the mini-mods followed by the under-16 match at 7.30pm.
Senior footy returns to Albert Park tomorrow when both the Mary Valley Stags and Gympie Devils take to the field.