19 March, 2024

Town rivals set for derby rumble

AFTER falling to the Mareeba Gladiators during their trial round, the Atherton Roosters are hungry for revenge, as the two local teams go head to head for the FNQRL Rivalry Round.

By Ellie Fink

Town rivals set for derby rumble - feature photo

The first local derby of the official season will kick off this Saturday at Davies Park, Mareeba, with Roosters captain Ned Blackman and Gladiators captain Caleb Dally prepared for an intense game of rugby league.

Blackman said since their loss against the Gladiators several weeks ago, he and the team had been focusing on keeping up their fitness levels and overall mobility.

“We don’t have the biggest forward pack compared to Mareeba and a lot of the other teams in the competition but we are more mobile and hopefully that and our fitness is what gets us the win,” he said.

“It was a huge effort from the boys (during the trail derby), especially in our defence, and I am very happy to see how we are progressing – we just need to keep a hold of the footy a lot more.

“We had a lot of incomplete sets that could have been completed and just silly errors … but we need to just touch base and complete our sets and then I think we will be fine.”

Control is one of the major things Dally and the Gladiators are working on heading into the Rivalry Round.

“After seeing how we played on the weekend … we will be focusing on things such as ball security and controlling our one percenters and then hopefully we should be right,” he said.

“We just have to keep our heads up now and stick to our goals and everything will work out.”

New recruits such as Ayden Day, Connor Griffin and Davin Crampton are predicted to push the Roosters team to victory, with Blackman confident their skill will shine through when most needed.

“Day is just workhorse, absolutely unreal, and a great inclusion to the club and young Connor … he offers a lot around the ruck coming out of dummy half and an excellent ball player,” Blackman said.

“We are looking forward to getting Davin back after a broken arm and can’t forget Jimmy Clark as well … he is a massive inclusion and the best back rower in the comp by far.”

On the Gladiators, Dally believed Ryan Flegler's prowess and the hard work of Matt Egan would help secure the team a win.

He believed once all of their players got together on the field, they would be confident in snatching the win.

“Ryan is always good to have as the middleman and Egan, who always goes into thrash on the field,” he said.

“We are more excited than anything, because we love the games against Atherton and it is really interesting to see who plays and how they play and have some fun.”

Blackman said the whole team was looking forward to the game and encouraged all supporters to come along and cheer on their favourite team.

“We are really looking forward to it and I am really proud as captain of this club to see how the boys are progressing.

“Let's see what this season has in store for us.”

The A Grade game will kick off in Mareeba at 6pm, with supporters encouraged to dress in their club colours and support their team.


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