In a league of his own

Written by Kerrie Alexander

When Marquese Denduck-Green stepped out onto the futsal court to play in a school-based national final in Brisbane recently, he never expected selectors to be in the crowd.

However, after playing the game for only two years, the 16-year-old Hervey Bay athlete was only one of a handful of players chosen to represent Queensland and Australia in the Elite Fiji Tour 2022 from July 25 to August 4.

“I would have been nervous if I knew there were selectors there,” Marquese said.

“There were so many good players and to be picked out of so many teams that were there was exciting. “When dad told me (of the selection) he told me in the car on our way out to dinner.

“He said there’s someone in the car that made a Queensland side and I thought it was my sister, but he said it was and that was a big shock.

“I just love playing and I’m really excited to have this opportunity. It’s my first time overseas and my first time going on a plane, so it’s exciting!”

Futsal, known widely as soccer’s second cousin, is played with five players per team, on a hard surface and the duration of the game is only 40 minutes.

The Futsal ball is smaller than a traditional soccer ball and players wear indoor shoes or flats.

“It’s way different to other sport … It’s on an indoor court, it fast, it’s quick and you have to be on your feet because they’ll get around you quick,” he said.

Marquese will be playing against teams from all over the world in the fast-paced competition for 10 days, with a least three games being played per day.

However, endurance won’t be a problem for the young indigenous sportsman who also plays soccer, rugby league and ruby union, in which he was recently selected to play for Wide Bay in the Under 18s.

There is no off-season. He plays all year round and if he’s not playing competitively in one of those sports, he’s playing with his siblings in the backyard or at the beach.

Sporting excellence runs in the Denduck-Green genes with Marquese’s grandfather, Barry Denduck Snr, being a legend of league fields around the Fraser Coast for about 50 years.

The family literally live and breathe sport.

His father Peter played league for many years, his mother Melanie played rugby league and soccer, and his sister is a force to be reckoned with in local rugby union comps.

His grandmother has paid for the trip to Fiji and will no doubt be Marquese’s biggest supporter for the 10 days. Marquese says family is everything.

“My pop (Barry) played a big part in me playing sports. “He played rugby league and I just wanted to start playing to when I was young too.

“Family is important to me. They have been keeping me going and helping me out and I really appreciate it.” Dad Peter said sport was imperative for youth, especially his five children.

“Sports is everything … it keeps them busy, keeps themoccupied and keeps their focus on what they want to do.

“I grew up playing rugby league and that was my enjoyable time. I looked forward to going to training and playing on the weekends.

“His grandfather that passed (Barry) played rugby league and done boxing as well.

“My grandfather taught his grandfather how to box. “All the kids excel at all their sports. It’s full on and there’s a lot of driving around involved but it keeps them busy.

“A lot of kids get home and just sit on their phones. These fellas look forward to training four nights a week and two games on Saturdays and Sundays. “This comp (Fiji) is going to be a great experience for Marquese.”

Due to the lack of futsal games being held around the region and other members of the team being spread out throughout Queensland, Marquese won’t have the opportunity to train with his teammates until he arrives in Fiji.

However, he has plenty of other training to keep him fit and on his toes.

“He will just keep up with the sports his playing now,” Peter said.

Marquese’s major sporting goal is to one day play professional league for the Cowboys or Broncos.

I have no doubt that we will be seeing this young stars name up in lights sometime in the very near future.

Congratulations, Marquese!