Beenleigh Pride's main focus joining the Brisbane Rugby League A Grade competition this year is to just simply have a dig.
After dominating BRL Reserve Grade in 2018 and 2019, the south Brisbane club were preparing to step up to the big stage last season until COVID-19 put that on hold, but fast-forward 12 months, they're now ready to join with a fire in the belly after having to agonisingly watch from the sidelines in 2020.
"We were spewing that we were the only team who didn’t end up play last year, but we feel it’s given us an opportunity to be bigger and better for this year," club president Anthony Friend said.
"Having the year off… it’s made us hungry for 2021."
With the Beenleigh and Logan areas being one of the biggest growth regions in the state, the club is keen to continuing developing their current roster and build on the immense talent already in their backyard.
"We’ve built off some boys in the local area who have potential and ticker to have a dig each week and that has helped us build that and by our head coach Jason Gainey coming on board, he’s really been a big input in getting us to that level of football with his great coaching skills," Friend said.
"With the boys we’ve got, we’ve gone up the levels with a great bunch of guys and our culture has really grown.
"We’d love to see more people come to our club with the right culture and hunger to have a dig.
"We’re not a financial club to keep buying players from other areas. We want to offer the opportunity to people in our area.
"We’re also working closely with our Beenleigh juniors more and more and hopefully they can go right through to the Under 18s and our aim is to have A Grade, Reserve Grade and Under 20s."
Friend believed their off-season preparation has topped every other year since the club's establishment in 2015.
"This would have to be our best pre-season in our five years of the club," the Beenleigh president said.
"Ricky Dodd our strength and conditioning coach has been really getting the boys in the right mindset.
"We do have a few injuries at this point in time – we’re not full strength yet – but that’s what trials are for and we’ve got a great bunch of guys who have really been putting in the work as a squad."
Facing Bulimba, the Pride president said his side can't wait for the opening round of the BRL pre-season, expecting a huge turnout at Bill Norris Oval.
"We are really hungry for this week. We were meant to play Bulimba the other week in a trial. We’ve only had one game so far so it’ll be very interesting to see where we’re at," Friend said.
"We hosted the Wynnum v Tweed Intrust Super Cup trial a few weeks back and it was huge.
"It was the biggest crowd we’ve ever had at Beenleigh that I know of and I’ve had a few comments from others saying the same. Hopefully we can back that up today with the locals coming out to support us.
"Up against Bulimba too, they’re a good rival and they’ve been a powerhouse club in the Division 1 competition over the last few years and they're a relatively new club in the A Grade too, so it’s probably a good matchup for us."
The club's main goal in 2021 as BRL newcomers is to give it their all each week.
"You have your powerhouse clubs in the BRL like Valleys, Wests and Wynnum – who have won it three years in a row... we are looking to go out and compete week-in, week-out," Friend said.
"The boys are itching to get out there and have a good crack at it.
"We want to be in this for the long-haul and we are hoping people get out there, get behind us and support us."
Beenleigh kick off their 2021 BRL pre-season at 3pm; meanwhile, Normanby host West Brisbane at Graceville, Brighton are at home to Valleys and Pine Rivers cross the bridge to face Carina. Defending three-time premiers Wynnum Manly have the bye.
BRL pre-season Round 1
Saturday, March 13
|3pm||Beenleigh Pride v Bulimba Bulldogs||Bill Norris Oval, Beenleigh|
|4.30pm||Normanby Hounds v West Brisbane Panthers||Bert St. Clair Oval, Graceville|
|4.30pm||Brighton Roosters v Valleys Diehards||Jim Lawrie Field, Brighton|
|6pm||Carina Tigers v Pine Rivers Bears||Leo Williams Oval, Carina|
Wynnum Manly Seagulls - Bye