The 2017 Rugby League Gold Coast A Grade will kick off this weekend and there is plenty of anticipation of a strong and diverse competition from Ormeau through to Tweed Heads.
Round 1 begins this Sunday, April 9 at the Tugun Seahawks home ground, Boyd Street.
Currumbin Eagles v Runaway Bay Seagulls
The Currumbin Eagles are one of the many clubs have a new coach for the 2017 season. Ryan Gundry has taken the reins of the club and is excited for the opportunity and for what the 2017 season will bring. The focus for the Eagles will be to build on the culture at the club as there are some new faces and a new team overall. Kieran Tarrant and Bulldogs Under 20s Jake Gleeson were named and will be great inclusions into this year’s squad. Pleased with the team’s pre-season, Gundry knows the year ahead will be tough, but taking on Burleigh in the trials was a good indication on where the team was at. The side will be captained by Ken Allison who has been at the club for over four years, and will be a great guidance for the new comers of the team.
The Runaway Bay Seagulls will see 2016 coach Clinton Toopi return for another year.
They were playing consistent football last year, so the Seagulls will want to maintain that consistency from their past season which saw them just missing out of the finals series.
Bilambil Jets v Ormeau Shearers
Troy McLean will be taking the Bilambil Jets A Grade side for another year. Starting their preseason in December, the Jets have worked hard and set their sights for semi-finals in 2017. The Jets will see the return of captain Mitch Spackman, Luke Hawkins, Matthew Ryan and Luke Harvey.
After finishing on a positive note and having made huge improvements from the start of last season to now, the Jets will be look to show they are will be in finals contention.
New to the scene is Jeremy Golf who has been appointed the Ormeau Shearers A Grade coaching role for 2017. The Shearers underwent some massive fitness training in the pre-season and have successfully had trials to test the team’s strength for the season. Almost a brand-new squad, the Shearers have gained some players in Trent Shield and Ethan Taylor.
The side will be captained by Mohi (Mooks) Kendrick.
Burleigh Bears v Tweed Heads Seagulls
There have been plenty of changes in the Burleigh Bears side, along with a new coach in Stuart Wilkins. Wilkins has had experience in the A Grade competition, filling in for a couple of rounds in the 2016 season and is well prepared for what the 2017 season will bring. After losing a few players to the Intrust Super Cup side, the Bears have recruited Toby McIntosh, Jake Carl and welcome back returning players Jeremiah Nia and co-captains for 2017 Jacob Grant and Jesse Malcolm. Winning the Runaway Bay Nine-a-Side competition last month means the Bears will have a target on their back for the season start. Wilkins was pleased with the preseason (starting in November) and trials with teams outside the Gold Coast Competition.
The Tweed Heads Seagulls also experienced changes in coaching staff with Darryl Fisher taking on the team for 2017. Fisher has in previous years coached at Burleigh and knows how strong they will be this weekend. The Seagulls lost a fair few players from last season, and had to start from scratch to rebuild their combinations on the field. Although the Seagulls lose utility Trent Smith, they have had gains in Jenan Parrish and Jack Cook. Joshua Harvey will again captain the Tweed Heads Seagulls side.
Tugun Seahawks v Southport Tigers
The Tugun Seahawks have experienced major changes in their playing roster with players transferring, moving up to the Intrust Super Cup or retiring from rugby league. Last year’s captain Keanu Te Kiri, Adam Barnes, Robert Apanui and Chris Hodges were some of the losses for the Seahawks side. Returning coach Martin Griese is pleased the squad has not lost much structure in the team and will be sticking to their game plan and foundation. Griese said “we have had a couple good runs, but has been disruptive with the weather a little”. The Seahawks have a much younger squad to previous years will definitely be under the pump with not much experience gained during the trials period.
Returning for another season is Southport Tigers Coach Tim Cannard, who is positive about the preseason preparations which have been taking place since November and was focused on their defensive work. Gaining some overseas players in Adam Kelly and Joseph Ramsden, the Tigers are now looking at a almost whole new player roster. Cameron Miller, Zoram Watene and captain Michael Esdale will be returning which should create some structure for the team. The Tigers are looking for an early win as the Seahawks are strong towards the end of the season.
Good luck to all teams this Sunday at Boyd Street.
Game times are:
10am: Currumbin v Runaway Bay
11.45am: Bilambil v Ormeau
1.30pm: Burleigh v Tweed Heads
3.15pm: Tugun v Southport