Cardinal Cup Challenge a positive

FEEDBACK from the four clubs which competed in the Cardinal Cup Challenge has been positive.

Eventual victor and 2011 cup host Jimboomba was brought back to earth by a 39-point thumping from Goondiwindi on day one.

“We immediately learnt there was no place for complacency,” Jimboomba captain Mark Ryan said.

“Jimboomba came here thinking it would be a cake-walk to defend our title.”

Going into the last game of day one, it was clear Jimboomba or Warwick would play the final against Goondiwindi, with Lismore only missing out by the smallest of percentage.

The Redbacks went to the carnival with a team of regulars, missing only a small number of talented players.

The surprise packages were the guys who had not played the game before and players who returned from long lay-offs.

Vaughn Scally, the smallest carnival player, produced some blistering pace and a gutsy desire to get the ball.

His foot delivery was brilliant and it will take a lot to keep this fireball out of the team for the regular season.

Chris Nielson produced some passages of ruck work that would make anybody think he had been playing the game for a long time and the defensive work of the hustle-and-bustle-style player, Shannon Cameron, was unbelievable.

AFL debutant Mark O’Brien dislocated his finger in the first game and had it checked out in hospital but returned for a strong overall performance.

The most valuable player umpires’ award for the entire weekend went to Redbacks captain Brendan Iles, with an outstanding performance of talent combined with leadership and an enormous desire to win.

The club supporter-based encouragement award was a dead heat between Andrew ‘Polly’ Politch and Tony ‘Cramps’ Chandler.

These two guys performed at all times with Redbacks victory signs fairly and squarely in their sights.

The main aim of the Cardinal Cup was a desire to gain tough pre-season football for the Warwick club.

I am both pleased and proud this has occurred.

AFL Queensland admin manager Brian Douge said in two short years, the challenge had been stamped and ratified by AFL Q as the first step in the selection criteria for a state country squad.

I believe we may expect one, if not more, Darling Downs players in that team and wish to thank the people and clubs which embraced this carnival.

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