League club's queen readies her kicking boot
NEXT Sunday, in the midst of Gayndah's Orange Festival, a whistle will blow at the sportsgrounds, meaning the famous grudge match between the Gladiators and Mundubbera Tigers is officially under way.
When that whistle blows, it won't be a Tiger or Gladiator kicking off, but rather 29-year-old Bek Purcival, who, as the Gladiators' Orange Queen entrant, will do the honours.
"They said not to be nervous, but I'll have the whole crowd watching me,” Ms Purcival said.
"Hopefully I'll put a smile on some faces.”
That Ms Purcival is the club's Queen entrant is entirely down to a happy coincidence.
Ms Purcival runs a water fitness class at pool which she calls "Beksercise”, a play on her name originally thought up by her dad, a purveyor of "really lame jokes”.
Club secretary Robyn Geddes took the class and from there, made the connection.
Ms Purcival confessed she is more of an Australian Rules football fan, having been born in Adelaide and therefore a Crows supporter.
But, she said, in a sports-mad household such as hers, she's consumed her fair share of rugby league, although she doesn't support a particular team.
"I just watch for the fun of it,” she said.
Ms Purcival, who moved to Gayndah at the beginning of 2018, said she had never been so involved in a town.
"In a smaller town, you're a person,” she said.
She said sport was especially important in regional communities, as it "brings people together.”
Ms Purcival has previously played netball and basketball, as well as involving herself in swimming and athletics.
A former exercise physiologist, Ms Purcival currently works as a physiotherapist in the community health centre at Gayndah Hospital, where she travels all around North Burnett for outreach work.
Both the Gladiators and Tigers each have three training sessions left before the "State of Oranges”.
The Cup currently resides with Mundubbera after the side's victory in the 2018 fixture.