There's a new dawn at Gladstone Suns and BITS' have big test
AUSSIE RULES: There is a positive vibe at the Bill Robertson Toyota Gladstone Suns Football Club.
After an off-season of re-branding from Gladstone Mudcrabs to Suns, new sponsors and club song and colours to red, gold and blue - the real test starts tomorrow at 1.45pm against Rockhampton Brothers.
New player Tim Lagaranne hopes the the Gladstone club's transformation can replicate what his previous club has done.
"I've come from another club Narooma Lions and they have been in a similar position to that of the Suns," he said.
"I saw them progress to win the flag in 2018."
Unfortunately for Lagarenne, he didn't play in the grand final because he suffered a serious knee injury which forced him to miss almost two years of football.
So how did he cross paths with Gladstone Suns?
"My girlfriend Tia Corish is from Gladstone and we met each other in London where we lived in the same building as some Kiwis and Australians," Lagarenne said. "She's a massage therapist and I'm a trade assistant."
Lagarenne hopes to make defence his own. "I played at full-back but also at half-back which is where I am likely to play (this afternoon)," he said.
Bailey Carter is another who will add size to the Gladstone Suns. The 20-year-old, who was born in Shepparton, moved to Gladstone six years ago and actually last played for the Suns in 2015.
"I did play in the ruck back then and hope to play in the ruck or at centre half forward again," Carter said.
"The club's looking good and I decided to come back and play for health and fitness and make some more friends."
Fellow Victorian Tom Gorey completed his university degree in Melbourne and is now a process engineer at QAL.
"Someone from work told me to definitely give it a go at Gladstone Suns," he said. "I have no expectations at all and the main goal is to meet people."
Gorey was a member of the 2012 reserves premiership for Heywood Lions in Victoria before he had a stint with Spotswood in Melbourne.
BITS Saints will field a youthful team against reigning champions Yeppoon Swans in Yeppoon.
While it will be a tough task, the Saints have plenty of leg-speed with young gun Ryan Shanks in red-hot form after his Cobras heroics.
Leigh Irwin is another who'll match up well on Swans' ace Isaac Kielly.
Saints' coach Jake Mostert said Angus MacDonald will add size.
"He's a tall young fella and keen to play," Mostert said of the ruckman.
"I expect that Yeppoon will be very good as usual, but we have been working a lot on getting numbers to the contest and be accountable."
Mostert said match-ups against powerhouse forward-ruckman Eli Wells, Leigh and Tom Cossens, returning Alex Chapman and gun ruckman Jamie Garner will be crucial.
"We need to make sure that they don't get on top of us," he said.
"At the same time we've got some youth and we're really looking to see where we find ourselves against the benchmark and it will help us prepare for the rest of the season and what we need to work on.
"It is round one and could be a bit hit and miss for both sides and we look forward to the challenge."
BITS reserves premiership star Colby Bidmade has been named at full-back while Trent Millar is in the midfield after a season at centre half back last year.
"He's willing to leave his man and he can intercept marks and as for Trent in the midfield, he just gives us so much explosive effort and pace," Mostert said.
"He's hard as for a guy who's not super built and he's really hard at it which is fantastic being really fit is a bonus."
Game time is at 2.15pm tomorrow.
Words from AFL Qld Brad Matheson
The AFLC Frenchville Sports Club Premiership Season gets underway this weekend and the Yeppoon Swans will kick off their launch at an unprecedented five consecutive premierships at home against the BITS Saints.
There have been some bulk changes at the Swans with eight of last year's premiership team moving on, however they have been able to bring in some big named recruits to fill this void including Western Australian Trevor Johnson and youngsters Mitchell Tucker and Bradley Francis pushing for a Senior spot after impressive off-season.
The women's competition is poised to become even closer this year with last years premiers Rockhampton Panthers looking as pre-season favourites, but the competition is well aware what the Bulls are able to deliver each year.
Both Yeppoon and the Kangaroos have recruited well over the off-season and will be eager to press their claims early this season.
The competition continues to grow its involvement within the community through focus rounds such as Umpire Appreciation Round and Sir Doug Nichols Round, recognising the contribution the indigenous community has made to the game over the years.
This year will also see the first official ANZAC Day Match being played on Anzac Day where the Panthers will take on the Kangaroos in senior men and women's on a Thursday.
Other teams - men
Brothers Kangaroos - Coach Michael Rose
Captains: Jarrod Donovan (Captain), Xavier Frost and Matthew Jones (Vice Captains)
Players OUT: Brayden Anwyl - Queenscliff Coutas (Geelong), Jarl Kane (South Toowoomba Bombers), Denver O'Grady (Rugby League), Lleyton Parle ( Tennis ), Alex Rankine, Paddy O'Shaughnessy (Gaelic footy in Cork, Ireland), Luke Johnstone, Wade Reddacliff
Players IN: Reece Groves (Box Hill Hawks Eqast Ringwood FC, Matt Cook (Mayne Tigers), Lachlan Libke (never played), James Belford (Previous Bushrangers Junior)
Which Club do you expect to surprise the competition this year Panthers: New coach always brings a good vibe, they've done well in pre-season and may be able to keep that form going into the season!
What are your expectations for the 2019 season: Looking forward to it, I have hopes of it being our most successful year both on and off the field for a while. We've got a great group who've all bought in to what we are trying to achieve, just need to stick to it and trust in the process.
Glenmore Bulls - Coach Tim Borg
Captain: Dylan Hooper
Players OUT: Brandon Diplock, Tim Borg (injury), Jackson Rabbas, Nick Payne (work), Clay Hooper, Tyler Hodgens (Brisbane), James Goodman (Brisbane), Toby Payne (work), Darcy Payne (Canada), Tyson Payne (Vic), Tim Higgins (Port Douglas), Cameron Imrie (Sunshine Coast)
Players IN: Cameron Squires (Mackay) Scott Reaper (Toowoomba)
Which Club do you expect to surprise the competition this year: Brothers have been building over last couple of years, good mixture of youth and experience.
What are your expectations for the 2019 season: Build the youth talent and develop a few juniors through the ranks. Establish a quality brand / style football sustainable over a few years.
Other teams - women
Brothers Kangaroos - Coach Tim Carroll
Captain: Chelsea Carroll (Captain), Kate Pollock and Kassie Davey
Players OUT: Holly Clark, Zekeisha Oakley, Alexis Williams, Taure Polly
Players IN: Jemma Abbot, Kassie Davey, Tay Jennings, Maddie Barnicoat, Zoe Maker, Lisa Dooley, Jemima Burt, Taniele Ward, Madison Miles, Tam Shaw, Lily Bartlem, Ashleigh Hedges, Alsion Gale, Ashleigh Ann
Which Club do you expect to surprise the competition this year: Yeppoon Swans - strong club and think they may have worked hard on recruiting in the off-season
What are your expectations for the 2019 season: Improving the skills of the whole playing group, in particular the girls who are new to the game
Glenmore Bulls - Coach Ross Borg
Captain: Bree Grentell
Players OUT: Danni Lenz returned home to Colorado, Elisha Steffan (family commitments), Helen Reece back to Adelaide.
Players IN: Rechelle Kealley - previously played at in Brisbane competition.
Returning Players: Olivia Dean, Nyree Gilluly, Meagan Rickertt, Brittany Mace, Tashina Ketchup, Hayley Arnold
Which club do you expect to surprise the competition this year: Don't know a lot about the opposition, but Panthers will again be strong.
What are your expectations for the 2019 season: A lot to look forward to with a lot of publicity with the AFLW comp, we have a good crop of younger players in the 16-18 age group who we hope to develop their skills.
Yeppoon Swans - Coach Mark Hay
Captain: Captain Tamara Creamer, Vice Captains Riliegh Mohamed and Katie Greenaway
Players OUT: Players out 13 players out from last years team including Lauren Moss runners up B&F and last years Captain, Natalie Robertson third in B&F both having a year off. (pregnancies).
Players IN: Players in 13 new signings including Steph Collins (played a season in Brisbane and a season in London) and a superfit and speed to burn midfielder, Annie Barnes ex-Victorian played at a few clubs previously and will probably play CHF alongside Shirley Uku, Tahn Alloway had a year off last year, a hard nut on-baller with a big tank.
Which club do you expect to surprise the competition this year: The team to watch not so much a surprise packet, Glenmore always seem to be able to recruit well and play a physical fast style that's hard to match up on, capable of kicking bursts of goals early on in games.
What are your expectations for the 2019 season: I think the competition is starting to even up a bit and for teams to make finals you will need a minimum of five or maybe six wins to finish fourth, previously the number of wins required was four.
Panthers - Coach Clint Evans
Captain: Taylah Pringle
Players OUT: Nicole McLaughlin, Stacey Anderson (Mackay), Sarah Dempsey (retired).
Players IN: Amy Slatter (2017 League B&F), Kelsey Hitchman (Hermit Park), Elise Botcher
Which club do you expect to surprise the competition this year: Glenmore will be strong as usual and BITS look to have a young exciting list.
What are your expectations for the 2019 season: Enjoy the game and each other's company, live our values and grow women's footy in the region.
Nick 'Kossy' Kossatch's Prediction
1st and premiers: Yeppoon Swans
2nd: Rockhampton Panthers
3rd: Rockhampton Brothers
4th: BITS Saints
5th: Gladstone Suns
6th: Glenmore Bulls