The 2018 In Safe Hands Brisbane Rugby League season starts this weekend, with defending champions Valleys taking on Easts in the season opener this weekend.
In Safe Hands CEO Michael Pecic has again committed to be the major sponsor of the competition for a second year and spoke of his continued support at the season launch held at The Alehouse last Wednesday.
“We are committed to sponsoring this pathway for our junior clubs,” he said. "We are looking to not only sponsor the competition this year, but junior clubs next year and I invite others to come on board.
“My boys play at junior level and we are seeing the strength in junior clubs through players and coaches staying to watch the BRL boys.”
QRL Managing Director Rob Moore also acknowledged the pathway the BRL has provided for local juniors who aspire to be A Grade footballers.
“The re-establishment of the BRL actually starts to give us the impetus to build a pathway properly that will see the juniors come through, and to play in the BRL competition is an achievable goal for young players,” Moore said.
“The QRL sees that the BRL will close the gap that exists between junior and senior levels. With the inclusion of more clubs in the BRL that will come, and their work with Intrust Super Cup clubs that sit above, we can build on that pathway for the future.”
Valleys will host the Tigers on Saturday March 17 with the Diehards hoping to repeat their 2017 success where they defeated Redcliffe in last year’s grand final to claim their first A Grade premiership in 27 years.
However coach Don Gailer said his side won’t be living on past achievements.
“That’s long forgotten,” he said. “The party lasted a few weeks, then we were back into preseason, then trials and getting ready for another big year.
“Historically, you hear that winning back-to-back is hard to do, but it’s a different year in footy with different players.”
Last year's runners up Redcliffe will open their season on Sunday when they travel to Davies Park to take on Souths. Coach Daniel Green was confident his side has learned from their experience.
“We got out played on the day, but it was a big achievement to get to the grand final,” he said.
“You’re not going to win all of them and I’ll learn a lot from that personally as a coach and I’ll be better for that next time.
“We’ve had a seamless preseason. There are a few new faces to the club and everyone is fitting in on and off the field. There’s a fresh feel about the club with some player turnover, and we’re really looking forward to the year ahead.”
Round 1 fixtures;
Valleys v Easts; Saturday March 17 at Emerson Park, 4pm (Livestream via BRLTV)
Souths v Redcliffe; Sunday March 18 at Davies Park, 4.45pm
Wynnum v Wests; Sunday March 18 at Kougari Oval, 4.45pm
*John Devine is the BRL A Grade correspondent for the QRL