Warwick Cowboys club captain Ryan McIvor (front), Redbacks club captain Brendan Iles and Water Rats A-grade scrum half Russell Craymer can’t wait for their first games this weekend.
Warwick Cowboys club captain Ryan McIvor (front), Redbacks club captain Brendan Iles and Water Rats A-grade scrum half Russell Craymer can’t wait for their first games this weekend.

Warwick AFL teams ready to play

THIS weekend the Redbacks, Warwick Cowboys and Water Rats will all take to the field for their first games of the 2010 season.

The Redbacks are set to take on Highfields at Slade Park in the AFL Darling Downs competition, while the Cowboys and Water Rats will travel away to play Souths and Dalby respectively.

Cowboys coach Gary Lawrence said despite the sensational run of trial games his A-grade team has had this year, they expect a tough challenge against Souths at Clive Berghofer Stadium on Saturday night.

“We are looking forward to the challenge this season ... we’ve been putting things in place over the pre-season and we are still six to eight weeks from where we want to be but the season has to start sometime,” he said.

“We’ve been competitive (in the trials), we’ve done some good things and we’ve done some dumb things. We didn’t have the same squad week to week ... if you’re committed to training and committed to the Cowboys this year you will be given opportunities.

“From what we understand Souths will be very competitive, we’ve got to be on our game. We’ll just be doing the simple things right.”

The Daily News can announce that Ryan McIvor has today been named club captain while Luke Brosnan and Cameron Mulcahy will be the on-field A-grade co-captains.

Lawrence said those three would form the leadership team at the club this year.

“They will be leading the boys around the park and off the field,” he said.

Lawrence said the goals for the season were to win all the home games, be competitive away and make the semi-finals.

Trent Achilles and McIvor have been named in the halves for the Souths match while Bob Nicholls and Scott Kerridge will play in the centres. Brosnan and Mulcahy will play at lock and prop respectively.

Redbacks operations manager Colin Pope said they would not be taking new team to the AFL Darling Downs, Highfields, lightly come Saturday.

“We’re going to give it a great shot,” he said.

“This is the shortest pre-season we’ve had in some time but the boys are working really hard.”

While the club has lost a number of key players from last season including David Butcher, Greg Woodward, Josh Andrews, Julius Sakrewski and Bryce Bodsworth, they have gained just as many – including Warwick AFL legend Steve Gray.

The Redbacks have also recruited a number of other players, including Stuart Day, Mark O’Dwyer, Vaughn Scally, Shannon Cameron and Fraser McLaughlin.

Brendan Iles is again club captain and will be supported again by his deputies of 2009, Andrew Bardsley and Kurt Millard. The Redbacks will take on Highfields at Slade Oval at 2pm Saturday.

Water Rats coach John O’Leary said his team were rearing to get out onto the paddock against Dalby on Saturday.

This is the first time the Water Rats have played A-grade in the Darling Downs Rugby Union competition in a number of years, after returning last year in B-grade after merging with University of Southern Queensland.

The Water Rats will enter A and B-grade independently this year.

“Everyone is keen to play, we’ve had an extensive pre-season,” O’Leary said.

“It’s always hard to judge how you’re going until you go out and play but I think everyone is ready and we’re going to be competitive.

“Our goals are to be competitive in both grades, which I believe we will be, and then to take aim for being real chances for the finals in following seasons.”

Ryan Smith has been voted club captain of the Rats this year. O’Leary said the strength of the team was based around a big, mobile forwards pack.

He said they would be well-supported in the backs with Shane Hooper at fly-half, Fred Walker at inside centre and Pete Collins at outside centre.



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