Gladstone hopes to end rivalry at first match of season

RUGBY LEAGUE: Gladstone and Rockhampton might be traditional rivals but Calliope Roosters are looking to change that.

Today, the club will kick off its first match of the year against Rockhampton Norths.

Roosters A-grade coach Russell Thomas said the club invited the out-of-towners to Calliope for a different competition but also to foster a relationship between the traditional rivals.

"Any experience from a town and competition outside of your own is always good and healthy for your game," Thomas said.

And he said he would be looking to return the favour next year and travel to Rockhampton for a pre-season match.

After a disastrous debut in Gladstone Rugby League's A-grade competition last year, Thomas was keen to give a run to his new team, which this season will include former NRL stars Blake Lazarus, Steve Southern, Josh Cordoba and Paul Gallen's brother Steve.

"We've got some good footballers there now," he said.

They will join local youngsters Tommy Dahl, Hayden Coy, Liam Johnson and Mitch Hallinan.

Thomas said the boys had worked their way up through Calliope juniors and were ready to take the field for the A-grade side.

"With the experience around them they'll be learning a fair bit as the game goes along," he said.

With the combination of the experience and local youth he said he hoped the A-grade Roosters would have a stronger season than last year.

"We hope we've recruited fairly well, along with the local young guys, to at least be competitive and not get flogged around the paddock."

Trial matches being held at the Calliope Roosters Rugby League grounds today:

  • Calliope juniors v Rockhampton Tigers at 4pm
  • Calliope reserves v Rockhampton Norths at 5.30pm
  • Calliope a grade v Rockhampton Norths at 7pm

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