FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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THE representative season is upon us and the Emerald Group Dolphins have started proceedings well. A total of seven Dolphins were selected in the City side to take on Country in Cloncurry late last month, however centre Nick Emmett was forced out due to a suspension from a tripping charge against Easts. His replacement was in-form prop Pat Gardner, whom I though was unlucky not to make the Kevin Walters-coached side in the first place. Our City representatives in the backline were fullback Ryan Cullen and winger Alwyn Simpson with warhorse Troy Lindsay joined by hooker Michael Roberts in the pack and Danny Burke, Adam Starr and Gardner coming off the bench. The Country side was down a bit in quality because of demands from NRL clubs Cowboys and Broncos. Our boys are in for a bit of a culture because after they fly to Mount Isa they then bus it to Cloncurry. It's a pity we couldn't watch the match on TV as the Queensland Wizard Cup has a good following and it's the only rep match we get to see involving our players. The reward for our Dolphins could be a spot in the Queensland Residents to take on their Blues counterparts in Melbourne as the main curtain-raiser to Origin III.
RORY Bromley, a new face at the Dolphins this season, has come in handy over recent weeks. An injury to Marty Turner and Shane Perry's stay at the Broncos have meant some shuffling of personnel and Rory has filled in capably at pivot. A good friend of our fullback Ryan Cullen, Rory has had previous stints with the Comets and Cowboys and came to us as an outside back. He started on the wing in A grade, but I believed he could do a good job for us at five-eighth and that has been the case for the past month.
OUR club received a shot in the arm with the call-up of three of our players to the Broncos. With Shane Perry already at the NRL powerhouse, Ryan Cullen, Nick Emmett and Pat Gardner were called into training at Red Hill. Unfortunately Nick's suspension not only rules him out of Queensland Residents selection but cruels his chances with Broncos selection during Origin III. Although his suspension was dropped from three weeks to two, all his chances to shine have evaporated. I don't think he has even been sent to the sin-bin so his citing was totally out of character and a real brain explosion.
OUR lower grades have performed admirably in a trying period as the club battles injuries. The Colts, with a new coach in Mathew Wood in charge, are on top of the table despite numerous call-ups to the higher grades. Crusher Cleal has been calling on three or four Colts to play in his A grade while rep duties also have eaten into the Colts. I've also had young Tim Yee in my side for the past month and he has not been out of place. Lee Munt's under 18s have helped with players to the Colts, a remarkable effort considering they could still take out the Chairman's Trophy. Crusher's side has been up and down with injuries and call-ups, but are still hanging in there despite a tough run. The A grade is a quality competition and I'm sure Crushers and his boys will have an impact on the semi-finals. The situation will ease a little with the return of Turner, centre Greg Bourke and Mark Shipway from injury. As it is, we're still top of the club championship and that's one trophy we are all keen to regain for the Dolphins. Anthony Griffin