Redbacks play Lions for first time

THE Redbacks will today host the Highfields Lions at Slade Park.

This will be the first time the two teams have faced up to each other.

Highfields have come into the AFL Darling Downs fixture for the first time at senior level.

The Lions have had an excellent pre-season and have recruited well from within the Darling Downs and have Zac and Mac Chimes from Redland Bay Sharks State League Division one running through their mid-field.

A young, fit and enthusiastic combination the Lions have a great deal of coaching experience behind them.

Senior coach Bert Cherry played in three winning grand finals with Coolaroo and has been a driving force behind the emergence of the senior squad with his diligence in the junior coaching ranks.

Cherry’s assistant coach Matt Salmen played in four winning grand finals, also with Coolaroo, and won the Holman Medal in 2005 as the fairest and best player in the AFL DD.

Having attended the Highfields first game of the season I was very impressed with their over all skill levels, their speed and their desire to win the ball.

The Redbacks have had both a slow and late start to their pre-season due to the belief that they possibly peaked a little too early in the previous two seasons.

They have worked extremely hard over the past five weeks and it looks as though it has come together, only time will tell.

Not only are they coming up against an unknown opponent, but they are also in a position of having to play as a newly structured team with a lot of new faces.

The loss of David Butcher, Bryce Bodsworth, Tiger Andrews, Matt Authurs, Ian Rowlings, Lachlan Jones, Julius Sakrewski, Daniel Talbot and Greg Woodward from last year’s line up has put a huge hole in the on field talent.

These losses combined with the unavailability for week one of veteran Jason Wright, ruckmen Steve Martin and Luke Macey and defenders Jason Hoole, Mark O’Dwyer and Shannon Cameron has had the selection committee deep in thought.

Every cloud has a silver lining and the Redbacks are no different. The return of two outstanding footballers, Stephen Gray and Clinton McErvale has bolstered the already talented on ball combination of Kurt Millard, Brendan Iles, Andrew Bardsley and Alex Cutmore.

Speed has been added with new guns Nick Tate and Vaughn Scally and the welcome returns of a fit Paul Hutchins and Gavin O’Leary.

The final addition to a squad that has been dubbed the shortest team in the competition for many years, is height.

The addition of Stewart Day, Chris Nielson and Mark O’Dwyer and Luke Macey (when available) will give Alex Cutmore and Steve Martin tremendous assistance around the ground.

A very good game of football is expected at senior level that could go either way.

Juniors on show

THE future of the Redbacks will be on display from 8.30am with the under eights and 10s showing their newly-learnt skills.

These girls and boys love the game and love to be out there entertaining the parents and supporters, so come and follow our future stars.

The under 12s and under 14s had a stellar start to their seasons with great wins over Pittsworth and are both sitting on top of their respective ladders. The 12s will play Highfields today and the 14s have a bye. Refreshments, entertainment and loads of fun, what else do you need to have a family day out? Go Reddies.



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