Week off pro­vides a chance to re­flect and rest

Sides take stock of sea­son be­fore hit­ting fi­nal stretch

Central and North Burnett Times - - SPORT - Adam McCleery adam.mccleery@cnbtimes.com.au

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.

Gayn­dah Glad­i­a­tors

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.

Biggenden War­riors

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

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.

Eidsvold Ea­gles

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.

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