Brahmans in preparation for new era
By AARON KELLY ? ROCKHAMPTON rugby is prepar- ing for a daunting new era with a mass exodus of players not return- ing for representative duties in sea- son 2006.
Up to nine Brahmans have already signalled their intentions after Sat- urday night's Landmark Queens- land Country Championships final round 31-3 loss to the Darling Downs.
The departures of Jamie Blyton, Mick Benson, Ben Wiltshire, Camer- on Ritchie (retirement), Joel John- ston, Rupert Collins (overseas), Bill Solofa and Sean Kearns (work com- mitments) is expected to leave a gap- ing hole for Rockhampton to fill.
The Brahmans tasted victory on just one occasion in their southern division debut, but coach Darren Solomons believes Rockhampton will be a force after this season's learning experience against Queens- land Country powerhouses Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and the Dar- ling Downs.
"It's been frustrating, but at the same time, it's been a huge learning curve,'' Solomons said.
"They've seen how much work they've got to do next season. "We improved, were a lot more competitive and our intensity got better from game to game.''
Solomons, who hopes to remain in charge of Rockhampton's exciting talent pool, said he would build his team around players like Queens- land Country star Ashley Kirk and young guns Arno Coetzee, Craig Wilkes, Murray Brookes, Scott Man- ley and Rod Welfare.