The return of competitive rugby league has been welcomed by the Souths Logan Magpies whose Under 18 side opened their Mal Meninga Cup campaign with a strong win over Wynnum Manly.
The Magpies had six different try scorers in the 40-12 win over the Seagulls, with a number of the squad’s younger players showcasing the form that took the Under 16 squad to the Connell Cup state final in 2016.
With just two home matches this season, taking advantage of familiar surroundings is key for the Magpies.
“It was good to get the boys to play for something, it’s completely different to the trial games,” Magpies Under 18 head coach Lane Bird said.
The young side were the first on the field for the Magpies at Davies Park last weekend, with the ground hosting the Under 20 FOGS Cup and Intrust Super Cup matches as well.
“We effectively started the season for the club being the first game of the day, so we were big on trying to get the club off to a strong start.”
Despite their positive start, the Magpies aren’t concerning themselves too much with their win-loss ratio and are taking a strong stance on developing their young players in preparation for Under 20s and senior competitions.
“Our goal is based on improvement and hopefully some of the boys can then step up in to the Under 20s squad (later in the season),” Bird said.
“We’re all about getting good practices into the boys. We have a great catchment area where our players come from, they’re naturally strong.
“We haven’t spoken about winning and losing games and if we make the top four, then it’s just a bonus.”
The Magpies sit second on the ladder following the opening round of the Mal Meninga Cup and are only topped by CQ Capras who recorded a 60-16 victory over Central Crows.
Norths Devils recorded a narrow 20-18 win over defending premiers Townsville in a seesawing game, while Redcliffe also pipped Burleigh Bears 24-22.
Mackay and Tweed Heads rounded out the Round 1 victors list, edging out Sunshine Coast and Northern Pride respectively.
Round 2 will see first home matches of the 2017 season for Burleigh, Mackay, Wynnum Manly and the Jets, while the Capras and Dolphins clash in the battle of two undefeated sides in in Rockhampton.
Sunshine Coast Falcons are the next test for Bird’s Magpies and he expects his side to be challenged by a strong Sunshine Coast outfit.
“I’m expecting it to be physical and expecting ball control and completion rate to decide the outcome,” Bird said.
“I think the team that completes their sets better will have a strong chance of winning.”