REMATCH: Warwick captain Alex Cutmore (left) and Uni’s Manylok Malek go high for the ball in last year’s AFLDD grand final.
REMATCH: Warwick captain Alex Cutmore (left) and Uni’s Manylok Malek go high for the ball in last year’s AFLDD grand final. Gerard Walsh

Uni keen to start year on fresh note

PAST results won't be weighing on University ahead of today's AFL Darling Downs season opener against Warwick at Reddies Oval.

The Cougars have been one of the most consistent sides in division one, making the past two grand finals, but they have come up short on both occasions.

Uni will have a shot at redemption today with a rematch against reigning premiers Warwick but coach Shane Melrose isn't approaching the game that way.

Melrose said the turnover of players from season-to-season meant his focus was on making a strong start with the new squad.

"We just want to start fresh and not worry about the past," he said.

"Each year is a different scenario depending on the players you've got.

"I know everyone says it's the grand final rematch but we've got 10 players this weekend who played in last year's grand final. That's under half the side.

"It's a new season and we're rebuilding. We just want to start the season well."

New Warwick coach Brendan Walker echoed Melrose's sentiments.

The Redbacks have lost 10 players from the side which won their maiden A-grade premiership last season including club stalwart Jason Wright.

But the former under-16 coach said he was excited about the next generation of players coming through at Warwick.

Walker admitted they were in a rebuilding year but he was confident the young Redbacks would still be competitive.

"It's going to be an interesting season but we're going to give it a go," he said.

"We've been training hard and we're feeling positive. We've lost 10 players but we've still got that senior core group.

"The quality of the kids we've got, they don't have the body size but they have the talent.

"We've got seven boys that have come up through the under-16s over the last three years.

"I'm really proud of that. All these boys are rep players. They're young but they're good.

"We've just got to try and run (University) off their feet."

IN TODAY's other round one games, the Toowoomba Tigers will square-off with Goondiwindi at USQ while South Toowoomba hosts Coolaroo at Heritage Oval.

GAME DAY

AFL Darling Downs, division one, round one

Warwick v University at Reddies Oval (2pm)

Toowoomba Tigers v Goondiwindi at USQ (2.40pm)

Souths v Coolaroo at Heritage Oval (3.30pm)



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