Five players from the West Brisbane Panthers side made the Poinsettias A Grade Rep Squad. Unfortunately however, Sebastian Sinipati, Kristian Wanka and Nathan Lowrie had to withdraw due to injury.
Andrew Gormley and John Tasi are the two remaining West Brisbane players who are travelling to the Gold Coast to compete at the State A Grade Championship this weekend.
Gormley has been in outstanding form for the Panthers early in the season. His rock-solid defence and hard style of play has seen him develop into a bruising enforcer for the West Brisbane pack.
But things could’ve been very different. Less than 12 months ago, Gormley was recruited from the Caxton St Hotel.
“I was at the Caxton having a few beers with work mates and Pete (Luckmann), hit me up about a new team he was starting,” Gormley said.
“I called his bluff at first and told him to ring me when it’s up and running. A few months later Pete called and said get to pre-season training. It was then I actually believed him.”
After a slow start in the pre-season, ‘Gorms’ has quickly worked his way back to his best ever form.
“It (pre-season) was probably the most unfit I’ve ever been. Last year I had a year away from footy and really enjoyed it. I started pre-season just wanting to get back into shape and as I got fitter and things got more serious, I realised I had an opportunity and I wanted to take it with two hands,” he said.
“The last rep team I made was the Under 11 Met North team, which is insignificant now. So I’m pretty stoked and excited at the moment.’’
And he attributes his selection to his enjoyment at club level.
“I’m just really enjoying my footy at the moment. We have a lot of fun at our club and enjoy each other’s company and that rubs off on the field.”
On plans for the future, Gormley is like any other aspiring young player.
“I think it’s every young bloke’s goal, to take it to the next level. I’m pretty stoked and happy at the moment but would like to play in the Queensland (Intrust Super) Cup one day,’’ he said.
John Tasi has been another shining light for the Panthers, with his powerful running and hard hitting defence. Humbled by his selection, Tasi is still coming to grips with being picked.
“I didn’t’ really expect to be picked. I thought there would be other guys in front of me so I’m really surprised but at the same time, really happy. This is great,” he said.
In an ironic twist, the last rep team Tasi made was as a junior and he’ll be looking to make up for lost time.
“I think the last rep team I made was either the Under 14 or Under 15 Poinsettias team. So I just want to play some good footy at the carnival, run hard, hit hard, bend the line and add impact,” he said.
Tasi attributes his form to his club environment that has nurtured his development.
“Last year I was more focused on trying to better my form and improve on the year before. This year I’m trying to do the same and West Brisbane Panthers have really given me a good opportunity to do that,” Tasi said.
“We’ve got a good team, great blokes and an enjoyable environment. We just need to stay composed and execute but everything’s there, we just need to put it together.”
A Queensland Rangers team will be selected from the carnival to play a Ron Massey Cup representative team later in the year.