Reigning champs Rocky Brothers have new-look side in 2018
RUGBY LEAGUE: They're the reigning champions but the Rockhampton Brothers A-grade side of 2018 is very different to the one that claimed the title in dramatic fashion last season.
Just six members of the premiership-winning team remain in Ryan Burke, who will captain the team this year, Cooper Nobbs, Lachlan Norris, Grant Rogers, Jayden Vea Vea and Todd Russell.
As well as multiple changes in players, there is also a new coach in Scott Munns, who has taken on his first A-grade coaching role.
He replaces Damien Seibold, who is now with the CQ Capras.
The Rocky side will open its 2018 campaign in a battle of the Brethren tonight, hitting the road to take on its Gladstone namesake at 7pm in the Harbour City.
Munns admits he can't wait for the opening kick-off.
"To be honest, I'm really excited and I know the boys are excited,” he said yesterday.
"It's been a long pre-season and we've all worked really hard.
"It's a totally different team to what we had last year.
"It's still a very experienced side, just a new-look one.”
Among some of the 'new' faces this year are former Capras Mark Johnstone and Liam Pickersgill and 2016 Ollie Howden Medal winner Mitch Power.
Munns said he was looking forward to seeing five-eighth Johnstone, who is on the comeback trail from injury, weave some magic this season.
"He's a bit of class this fellow. Some of the things he does at training just makes you stand back and go wow.
"Dan Castors, who will start on the wing for us this weekend, has also really impressed.
"In the forwards, I would expect the usual suspects in Grant Rogers and Jayden Vea Vea to have a big influence, and Liam Pickersgill and Todd Russell are ready to step up and lead by example, given the way they're training.”
Rocky Brothers got the better of Gladstone Brothers in a pre-season trial but Munns is expecting a good test in the Round 1 clash.
"These games are always pretty tough, both Brothers sides like to get stuck into one another,” he said.
"Everyone wants to make their home ground a fortress and they will come ready to play.
"At this early stage of the season, I just want the boys to concentrate on the little things and go out and enjoy themselves.
"It's an old league cliche but if we just focus on what we have to do, then the rest of it generally takes care of itself.”
- 6pm Saturday: Emu Park v Woorabinda, Bicentennial Oval
- 7pm Saturday: Gladstone Brothers v Rockhampton Brothers, Gladstone Brothers
- 3pm Sunday: Fitzroys v Biloela, Saleyards Park
- 3pm Sunday: Yeppoon v Norths, Webb Park
- 3pm Sunday: Tannum v Valleys, Tannum Sands