Week off provides a chance to reflect and rest
Sides take stock of season before hitting final stretch
RUGBY LEAGUE: With the second full bye round of the year, players from the North Burnett rugby league competition have been given the chance to rest up before the final stretch of games leading into the finals series.
Here’s how teams have fared so far this season.
The Gayndah Gladiators remain undefeated despite losing some key players to injury.
Gladiators senior coach Rob Linskett pointed to the player depth of this year’s team for being able to fill the space of injured players and still continue the run of top-level form.
“The players are all dedicated this year and bond and train really well. It all comes down to that sort of thing, them wanting to be there and do it for each other,” Linskett said.
“It has been a fair few years since we have had depth like that. We also have young players coming through and older heads which are quite happy and can play any position.
“So when we lost Luke at halfback, we gained someone who can play that halfback role.”
Linskett said training week in and week out with a full side had continued to benefit the team, along with an improved defensive game.
“You win games by your defence and attack follows,” Linskett said.
“Backing up your teammates with support play in attack and defence is important too.”
Linskett also wanted to make mention of the hard work of the team’s support staff.
“The coaching staff around them all helps, it is all about team bonding,” Linskett said.
Returning to the competition after a 10-year absence, the Biggenden Warriors have had an up and down season.
Some players expected it to take a little while to find a good groove to play from.
Warriors player Jack George was recruited by the club earlier in the year after the team reached out to see if they could find players to help launch the team.
Three of the George men, Jesse, Jack and Damien, all put up their hands up to help out the Biggenden side.
“The Warriors approached me to see if I knew any players to help them start up and we decided to help out,” Jack said.
“The boys are going well. It’s our first season and all the blokes haven’t played together. It is starting to click now in places and others still need work.
“Other than that I think overall the team is improving each weekend.”
The Warriors have had to overcome a number of hurdles in their first season back, including the loss of one of their main players, Justin Vicary, who had his arm broken early in the season in Gayndah.
Vicary suffered a spiral fracture to the humerus bone above his elbow.
“It was pretty horrific, a lot of people saw it and saw when I rolled over and my arm folded back in on itself,” Vicary said.
Despite missing out on a large chunk of the season. Vicary is still making the effort to stand by his team in support.
“I’ll be out there helping out and keeping things rolling on like I have been,” Vicary said.
“It will just have to be from the sidelines.”
Mundubbera Tigers captain Cameron MacDonald said while his team had some ground to make up in the latter part of the season, he was also optimistic the team could find the form that won them the 2016 competition.
“To be honest, I don’t think we have quite hit our expectations for this season yet,” MacDonald said.
“Being the defending premiers is always a big challenge but at this stage we still have some more improvement left in us.”
Player numbers through injury and other external factors have had an impact on the Tigers this season.
“Our biggest challenge since the Citrus Cup is being able to field our strongest side,” MacDonald said.
“We have had injuries and players with other commitments, so it has been hard to field our top side week in and week out.”
With the most important rounds of the season about to start, MacDonald feels there is still enough time for the Tigers to become the powerhouse they were in 2016.
“I think the next couple of weeks we will have our full squad on the field and hopefully we can all stay fit for the finals,” MacDonald said.
“I’d like to think once we are back together and start to click, things will start to come together and we will hopefully capitalise on that.
“I think we need to keep our heads up and keep moving forward and then pick up where we left off midway through the season.”
With the upcoming Intrust Super Cup game being played in Mundubbera next week for Country Week, MacDonald said the players were eager to play on a new stage.
“It’s going to be good for blokes that have never played in front of big crowds like that,” MacDonald said.
“And the opportunity to catch the eyes of some Queensland Cup players who will be around the ground.”
The Mundubbera Tigers will play the Gayndah Gladiators in the curtain-raiser prior to the televised Intrust Super cup game.
“We always enjoy being able to play Gayndah. It’s fun, competitive and always brings out the best in both sides,” MacDonald said.
The Eidsvold Eagles have also had to overcome some hurdles this season, including losing some players and having trouble fielding full teams, much like the Tigers and Warriors have had to deal with.
They also had to pull out of their previous fixture game against Mundubbera due to a lack of players.
The team has suffered a high rate of penalties per game, giving other teams a leg up on them.
Eidsvold Eagles coach Daryl Blucher said despite the team’s struggles, they all
played with heart and good spirits.
“We’ve got a few new players in the team, which is helping us out a lot,” Blucher said.
“We’ll just have to work on the penalties. It’s just something as a team we’ll have to manage and find ways to avoid getting penalised.”
Blucher already has a plan in mind.
“We’ll be working on ball control, defence and moving up with the forwards,” Blucher said.
“The players play with their hearts every match and the boys just don’t give up.”
Next weekend will be the
Intrust Super Cup game in Mundubbera, where the East Tigers will take on the Norths Devils in a live televised game from Archer Park.
This is the first time an
Intrust Super Cup game will be played and televised in the North Burnett, with all teams and players looking forward to the experience.
Entry to the game is $10 with limited parking.