We mourn the loss of John 'Cracker' McDonald, AM, who passed away at 79.

In his early years, John excelled in junior rugby league with Valleys Toowoomba and was a notable professional runner, nearing the world record for 440 yards. He achieved significant accolades like the Gilgandra Gift and Bendigo Gift’s 880 yards in 1966.


Joining Manly in 1969, he debuted against Wests and quickly made an impression, playing 62 matches and scoring 30 tries between 1969 and 1971. McDonald’s leadership shone when he captained Manly during the 1970 NSWRL Grand Final.

On a representative level, he played for Qld 10 times (1965-1968), NSW four times (1969-70), and represented Australia in 13 Tests (1966-1970) plus 15 tour matches.

Post his playing days, he coached Toowoomba (1973-78) and Queensland (1978-80), most notably in the inaugural State of Origin match in 1980. McDonald’s contributions to rugby extended off the field as he held significant roles with Toowoomba Rugby League, QRL, and ARL. He earned recognition by being inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame in 2016.

ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys AM remarked, “John McDonald was a monumental figure in Rugby League, both as a player and leader. He captained Manly in the iconic 1970 grand final against Rabbitohs and later coached Queensland in the debut State of Origin match. Few have left such an indelible mark on the sport. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”



Saturday 2 September – MULGOWIE Farming Company

Saturday 7 October – SOMERSET COLLEGE Mudgeeraba – Registration Form

Saturday 28 October – PITTSWORTH “Arthur Postle”

Saturday 25 November – MACKAY Gift

Queensland Athletic League Inc racing since 1880

Welcome to the official site of the Queensland Athletic League (QAL)! The QAL organises professional running events across Queensland. Races are run under a handicap system, usually over distances ranging from 70 metres to 1600 metres.
Handicap racing is designed to ensure that every athlete has a chance to win ! Runners are handicapped according to their ability which ensures that racing is close and more importantly exciting for both participants and spectators. While the big gifts offer thousands of dollars in prizemoney, there are many races where the prizemoney is a few hundred dollars.

QAL Registration Form Now Available

The QAL registration form is now available on the Forms & Members page. Fill out the form and get your registration in.


Registration with the QAL allows the athlete to compete in both local (usually around 10 races) and Interstate events. The QAL has reciprical arrangements interstate professional bodies in VIC, SA, NSW, WA and Tasmania whereby runners need only pay the race entry fee. However to run interstate in pro running you must be a member of the QAL

Payments can be made via the Qld Athletic League Bank Acc – Bank of Qld BSB 124 053 ACC 10196537. All runners must be a member of Qld Athletics via a club or affiliated body to run in Qld or a member of an interstate Athletic League. If you live in Queensland are not a QA member it only costs $12 to get the base membership. So go online to Queensland Athletics membership and sign up

The QAL is a not for profit organisation run by a volunteer committee. Our handicapper is Peter Sinfield his email for entry forms is psinfield4@bigpond.com
Please click on for the by laws of the QAL