A junior Komodo who began playing rugby for the Jakarta club as a four-year old has been selected for the U13 North Queensland team.

Carter Widjaja Bates, who played for the Komodos for five years, will represent the North Queensland Brolgas at the Queensland Rugby Union State Championships in Toowoomba in July.

The Brolgas are selected from three large rural provinces and the city of Townsville, which has a population of 180,000.

As a Komodo, Carter played in a number of regional tournaments in Bali, Singapore and Thailand, with a highlight being in a junior team that finished runners-up to a Sri Lankan national side at the Bangkok 10s.

The half Indonesian-New Zealand player becomes the first male Ingham Rugby Union Cutter to make the Brolgas after the formation of the junior club in 2019.

The junior Cutters have gone from strength to strength ever since, including the selection of a female Australian Filipino in the U14 girls’ side.

“Without the Komodos I don’t think I would be playing rugby today,” Carter said, “and I there is no way I could have made the Townsville team.”

His selection was something of a surprise, given the half-back was selected playing at centre (number 13), a position he has never played before.  

The 12-year-old said he would love to return to Indonesia after the COVID-19 pandemic had passed and again play for the Komodos.

“Once a Komodo, always a Komodo,” he said.

Although the game played in heaven has taken something of a hit in Australia in recent years, the junior sport has flourished in North Queensland, particularly among teenage girls.

Rugby offers multiple career pathways toward state and national representation, including at the Commonwealth and Olympic games.

In addition dual citizenship holders are eligible for selection in national sides where rugby is still developing, including Indonesia.

Rugby is a competitive sport at both the Asian and Southeast Asian games.