In Safe Hands Cup Round 1 preview

The Brisbane A-Grade Rugby League season kicks off this weekend as six clubs go toe-to-toe in their quest to raise the In Safe Hands Cup on September 21.

After a long and hot preseason, the Seagulls, Dolphins, Panthers, Tigers, Diehards and Magpies are all set to take to the paddock in search of a Round 1 win and the three competition points that go with it.

The Bayside Seagulls will look to defend their breakthrough premiership win last season. No side has managed to win this competition twice since the BRL A Grade returned in 2015.

The Seagulls will travel to Noffke Farm Park (Waterford RLFC) to take on the Magpies.

They will be coached once again by Ron Troutman and will also again be led on the field by John Te Reo who is lining up for his 11th successive season at Kougari Oval.

The Seagulls, as they did last year, will roll out an enormous pack headed by former Bronco Salesi Funaki and PNG international Rahdly Brawa. Andrew Clayton also returns after a year away and the big redhead is ready to rumble.

The Magpies were the fast-finishers of 2018, narrowly missing the finals after a hot run home.

In 2019 they have a new coach in Darren Ferricks who will be no stranger to his opposition after coming from Kougari as the BRL reserve grade coach last season.

The Magpies will be without playmaker Lane Ferling for a few more weeks, but they have a large pack that can match the Seagulls up front and it would not be a surprise to see a repeat of the physical spectacle put on display when these sides met mid-season last year.

Next up, the Diehards will host the Panthers at Emerson Park in what shapes as the match of the round. Valleys also have a new coach with Craig Kennedy taking the reins from premiership winning coach Don Gailer.

Valleys had an inconsistent season last year, unable to put back-to-back wins on the park at regular times.

Luke Archer leads an explosive backline including David Fauid and a new halves pairing of Beau Cordtz and Harry Fairbairn.

The front row in white and blue will pack some punch up front with Joe McGuire, Joe Bradley and Ethan Richards. Regular halfback Jack Miers will play at hooker to add an extra playmaker to the Diehards backline.

West Brisbane have an electric backline of their own with the inclusion of the dynamic PNG international Tommy Butterfield plus Intrust Super Cup regulars Luke Pollock and Khan Ahwang.

Troy Swift will lead a mobile pack around Emerson Park with Chris Gesch and Shane Pumipi looking to impress new coaching duo Wayne Weekes and Craig Ingebrigtsen who have plenty of depth to call on if form slips.

Finally, the Dolphins will start their campaign at home as they host then Tigers. Dolphins coach Daniel Green returns and as per last year, has a lot of new talent at his disposal.

They were slow out of the blocks last year, but found their groove mid-year and went on to win the minor premiership and feature in a thrilling grand final against the Seagulls.

Addison Demetriou, Kyle Foxwell, Oscar Carter, Fiatotoa Fiatotoa, Tevita Mapapalangi, Tauaalo Vaipulu and Michael Walit are some of the new faces at Dolphin Stadium.

Easts have 2016 coach Jason Di Lizio returning as head coach and he is mindful of the potential that he has at his disposal. The Tigers were capable of putting big scores on the park last season with prolific try machine Brandon Downey and Connor Jones returning.

The Tigers have a pair of Jacks in skipper Anderson and Walters that will lead a larger pack than previous years which should allow new half Josh Fauid plenty of opportunities to send it wide to the quick men.

In Safe Hands Cup Round 1 team lists

Magpies v Seagulls at Noffke Farm Park (Waterford RLFC), Saturday 16 March - 1.30pm

Magpies

1. Benaiah Bowie 2. Llikena Vudugo 3. Vesi Sa’u 4. Cameron Booth 5. Joseteki Lalagavesi 6. Haydn O’Hara 7. Josh Bowyer 8. AJ Tuimavave 9. Savarn Tahere 10. Rhys Melville 11. Simione Fatafehi 12. Dan Tamou 13. Cody McIntosh 14. Samisoni Vaioleti 15. Bruce Ten 16. Kobe Tararo 17. Jerome Veve

Coach: Darren Ferricks

Seagulls

1. Matthew Milson 2. Andrew Richardson 3. Harlan Collins 4. Rashaun Denny 5. Jack Goodsell 6. Reece McKenzie- O’Brien 7. Adrian Elder 8. Lachlan Lee 9. Tristan Hope 10. Semisi Ahoafi 11. Salesi Funaki 12. Sam Elliott 13. Rahdly Brawa 14. Andrew Clayton 15.  Brad Mana 16. James Mirceski 17. John Te Reo

Coach: Ron Troutman

Diehards v Panthers at Emerson Park, Saturday 16 March - 3.00pm

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Diehards

1. Jayden Baker 2. David Faiud 3. Henry Penn 4. Regan Glynn 5. Luke Archer 6. Beau Cordtz 7. Harry Freebairn 8. Joe McGuire 9. Jack Miers 10. Moses Noovao-McGreal 11. Joe Bradley 12. Ethan Richards 13. Chris Sio 14. Liam Horne 15. TBA 16. TBA  17. Jacob Kelly

Coach: Craig Kennedy

Panthers

1. Eddie Tautali 2. Luke Pollock 3. Kahn Ahwang 4. Kennedy Pettyborne 5. Kyle Van Klaveren 6. Zach Strasser 7. Tommy Butterfield 8. Chris Gesch 9. Mackenzie Reid 10. Troy Swift 11. Baylee Byrne-Perrett 12. Keelyn Tuuta 13. Jordan Brown 14. Shane Pumipi 16. Stephen Buckley 17. Johnnie Fox 20. Foisa Peni

Coaches: Wayne Weekes & Craig Ingebristen.

Dolphins v Tigers at Dolphin Oval Saturday 16 March - 4.15pm

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Dolphins

1. Regan Baker 2. Glen Ellis 3. Addison Demetriou 4. Corban Daniels 5. Sam Leach 6. Reece Braun 7. Kyle Foxwell 8. Bailey Butler 9. Oscar Carter 10. Ben King 11. Josh Rudolph 12. James Flack 13. Fiatotoa Fiatotoa 14. Tevita Mapapalangi 15. Jordan Pinnock 16. Tauaalo Vaipulu 17. Michael Walit

Coach: Daniel Green

Tigers

1. Brandon Downey 2. Connor Jones 3. Max Felosi 4. Matt Ruthenburg 5. Rahkem Auda 6. Nathan Brown 7. Josh Fauid 8. Jaiyden Hunt 9. Jack Walters 10. Jack Anderson 11. Jack Peoples 12. Tevita Wolske 13. Jesse Uhlmann 14. Haydin Elsebach 15. Justin Fai 16. Lachlan Lanskey 17. Lachlan Barr

Coach: Jason Di Lizio