ON A weekend that showcases Indigenous pride in Australian rugby league, there’ll perhaps be no one prouder than the 102 Cherbourg locals in attendance at Suncorp Stadium tonight when the Brisbane Broncos take on the Gold Coast Titans.

One hundred of those from Cherbourg will be the lucky recipients of a huge allotment of tickets that teenage Broncos sensation Selwyn Cobbo has organised for the people of his home town.

They’ll board a bus this afternoon and travel to Brisbane to watch their home town hero take the field for the NRL’s annual Indigenous Round.

The other two proud Cherbourg locals at Lang Park will be Cobbo’s parents, Shamus Cobbo and Kaylene Blair.

They’ve watched their boy grow from a pocket rocket 5-year-old running around with the Cherbourg Hornets to the tall and lean backline sensation who, at 19, has become undoubtedly the most exciting new player in the NRL.

Selwyn Cobbo’s parents, Kaylene Blair and Shamus Cobbo, at Cherbourg

With every one of his dazzling manoeuvres, stunning intercepts and blazing runs for the try line, there’s another big name in rugby league comparing Cobbo to his hero, Greg Inglis, or suggesting the young gun should be pulling on a Maroons jersey in a fortnight’s time.

With a towering 190cm, 100kg frame and a right fend that every week leaves defenders falling in his wake, the comparisons to GI and Latrell Mitchell are seemingly justified.

But Cobbo’s dad is more circumspect.

Repeating words the young Bronco himself recently gave football broadcasters, Shamus Cobbo said: “Myself and his mum, we’d like for him to be known as just Selwyn Cobbo – they are great players, but he’s going to put his own stamp on it”.

Even the conjecture around Cobbo’s State of Origin debut is premature, Shamus said.

“I reckon just hold off for another season, I’d to like see him to develop as a first grade football player. It would be good to get him around camp just to get a taste of it to see what it’s all about. It will make him hungry for next year,” he said.

Selwyn Cobbo leading out the Murgon State High School rugby league team in 2019


Regardless of what happens tonight and for the rest of Cobbo’s footballing career, the young man from the Wakka Wakka tribe around Cherbourg has already proven he’s not just a very gifted sportsman, but a trailblazer for Aboriginal youth.

Two-and-a-half years ago he graduated from Murgon State High School, in the town 6km from the Cherbourg Aboriginal Community where Cobbo was born in Queensland’s South Burnett region.

In the school’s 75-year history, Cobbo was the first student of Indigenous heritage to be voted school captain for his senior year.

Since he graduated at the end of 2019, two other Aboriginal kids have been elected into the prestigious role.

“He was a pretty shy kid but he’s a very highly skilled, smart young man, and he was always prepared to help others” said Simon Cotton, principal of Murgon State High School (pictured).

“The staff have very little to do with electing the school captain – we give our students the responsibility of voting and we trust them to make that judgement.

“His friends encouraged him to put his hand up and he was voted overwhelmingly as school captain.

“He certainly grew into the role. Before leading the school parades he started doing a welcome to country, and that’s something that we’ve instituted permanently in our school because of Selwyn. 

“Selwyn’s presence, even now, is still really important to our students. He is putting footprints in the sand for other students to follow.”

Selwyn Cobbo delivering his Valedictory Speech as 2019 school captain at Murgon State High School

Behind the freakish talent and the huge praise Cobbo has received so early in his career, there’s a whole boyhood of determination, hard work and overcoming set backs that put have the world at his feet at a young age.

Shamus Cobbo recalls his son was about 13 years old when he began to dream of becoming a professional footballer, running in the morning before school to give him the best chance of being selected in junior representative teams.

“He’d stand out in his carnivals but he never got selected for Queensland through his juniors,” Shamus Cobbo said.

“He put so much time and effort into his training and preparing his body for these carnivals, but he’d always come home devastated. He put in so much effort but he didn’t get selected and he thought he wasn’t good enough.

“I kept saying to him, wait for the big one mate.”


If “the big one” is the honour of playing for the Maroons in State of Origin, then it seems a matter of time before Cobbo fulfils his dream of representing Queensland.

But tonight and for the rest of his career, Shamus Cobbo said, the boy from Cherbourg will be “representing himself, representing his identity – being a young Indigenous man, representing his family and his community.

“We’re as proud as punch.

“I don’t like to show it much but his mum gets emotional all the time. I sit back watching him play and she’ll be jumping up and down. I’ll be jumping up and down inside though.

“He’s done all the hard work, we’re just there to support him. We’ve got a pretty tight-knit family here, we’re very proud of him – can’t really put it into words. We’re very happy and excited for him.” 

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