Maroons to visit Roma
A SEA of maroon will line Roma's main street and Arthur Beetson Oval when the Queensland State of Origin team visits the township for its annual fan day on Wednesday.
"I'd be surprised if we don't draw four or five thousand people on the day," Roma rugby league identity Peter Flynn said.
Along with the enthusiastic Roma residents, supporters are expected to come from Charleville, Chinchilla, Miles, Mitchell, St George and Injune.
Flynn, who has been involved with rugby league in Roma for nearly 40 years, said excitement was building ahead of the Maroons' visit.
"In 1994, Wayne Bennett brought the Broncos out, and that was the biggest day we've had in rugby league in my time," he said.
"We had about three or four thousand people there, but I think this will be bigger because the State of Origin team will have even more drawing power."
The scenes in Roma next Wednesday are expected to mirror last year's fan day in Emerald.
Cities, one of six senior clubs in the Roma and District Rugby League, will throw open their facilities at Arthur Beetson Oval for the Maroons training run and signing session.
Earlier in the day, Mal Meninga's Maroons will take part in a late morning street parade along McDowall Street with Maranoa Regional Council mayor Robert Loughnan to officially welcome the team at the Big Rig - the town's main tourist attraction.
The Maroons will then join 350 guests for lunch at a corporate function at the Roma Explorers Inn.
School children will also be heavily involved in the day's activities, with games and coaching sessions to be held throughout the afternoon at various locations.
Meninga, whose team will be out to wrap up a seventh-straight series win in Sydney on June 13, said the entire Maroons squad was looking forward to the fan day.
"The players were inspired by the people of Emerald last year and I'm sure there will be just as many passionate fans showing their support for the Queensland team in Roma next week," Meninga said.
"The region has been through some tough times in recent years, and given Roma's record of producing great players like Arthur Beetson, Darren Lockyer and Willie Carne, we are delighted to be able to spend the day there."