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Gippsland Rugby League - Round 1 Preview

After Representative matches throughout March, Gala Days for Latrobe Juniors, and a long Pre-Season for many players, Round 1 of the Gippsland Rugby League is finally upon us

By Mark Strini - 24th April 2001 - Back to News

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After Representative matches throughout March, Gala Days for Latrobe Juniors, and a long Pre-Season for many players, Round 1 of the Gippsland Rugby League is finally upon us and like any other season, with it brings much anticipation for all clubs involved.

Traralgon, Churchill, Morwell and East Gippsland are making there final preparations for the season opener, and if season 2000 was any indication of what is to come, we can expect many close encounters in a very even competition.

East Gippsland had their season launch last Friday night at the Old Pub in Paynesville and I can assure everyone that they are ready to go. A Jumper presentation was held with all players and sponsors present and there is a wonderful feeling about the club at the minute. New President Michael Harris has done a fantastic job in the off-season, and with people like Nolene Pedretti helping out, the Off Field department of the Brumbies is looking very solid indeed. Captain Coach Andrew Pedretti will lead the troops, and the form he displayed in the Representative games will ensure his players have an example to follow.

The Brumbies will take on the Round 1 hosts in the Morwell Miners, and their preparations for the opener have been mixed to say the least. Off the park, the committee has worked hard to Upgrade the clubrooms and Social amenities, whilst on the field, numbers are still very thin indeed. Coach Paul Chapman has set an excellent standard on the training track, which began back in January, but numbers will be the key for last years Grand Finalist. The Miner Forward pack has been cut dramatically with Prop Forward Sean Porter not gearing up this season and fellow Front Rower Tony Krusec out indefinitely. Consistent Full Back John Rouse is also sitting out for the season, and these 3 and others have left the Miners extremely short, and desperate for some new players. Radio 3TR’s Jon Vertigan will suit up for the Miners for Round 1, and this should bring plenty of interest for all who get to see the match. Kick Off for the Miners vs. Brumbies match is 1pm at Maryvale Reserve East Oval, Morwell.

The reigning Premiers in Traralgon Panthers have had a great start to the season, with 21 Players already registered and a solid performance in a trial match against the visiting Dandenong Knights has given them a great lead up to their opening clash against Churchill. With fantastic representation in the Gippsland Team and pre–season hit-outs for many of there players including the Dandenong win, has put them in good stead. Early matches did not bring all good news however. News from Traralgon suggests that the star centre pair of Dean Bradford and Colin Noda will be out of action for a few weeks. Coach Jeff Hiriaki however, has the unrivalled luxury, at the moment, of a bit of depth in numbers, and strength in numbers will ensure the Panthers are more than competitive again this season.

Their opponents will be the Churchill Gladiators in the 3pm game at Maryvale Reserve East Oval. The Gladiators have worked extremely hard over the off season to rectify the clubs problems from last year, and the efforts of people like President Edwin Dean and Nelson Porykali have created a stability in the club that has been lacking for some time. There was a perception around the Rugby ranks that Churchill may be in doubt this season in regards to numbers, but a visit to training last Saturday has led me to believe otherwise. Like Morwell, they have enough to field a team but depth could pose them serious problems as the season progresses, and lack of interchange players will take its toll on tiring legs. History has shown that the Gladiators with cattle in the paddock are very hard to topple, and I would not expect anything less this season if the numbers improve.

Registrations must be in to the League by close of business this Friday for any hope of playing in opening round, and I am sure that all clubs would welcome any late comers.

With Gala Days coming up, City vs. Country for Under 15’s and 18’s approaching fast which is being held in Melbourne this year on Sunday 6th May, the State Team in action, and of course Round 1 of GRL kicking off this Sunday at Maryvale Reserve Morwell, it is certainly an exciting time for the League and its supporters.

Yours in Rugby League - Mark Strini - President.


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