FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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WAY back in April my first column appeared in the Redcliffe Leagues News.
I devoted the opening item to the Young Guns and about how they were the team to beat for this year's Queensland Cup.
I quote: "The Townsville side is choc-a-block with talent and the fact they're so hard to beat at Dairy Farmers Stadium makes them a virtual certainty for the top five."
How true were those words as we found out to our cost last month. The Young Guns are still the side everyone has to climb over to claim the silverware.
As a club we set our sights on the Dolphins making the top five, which we have done, with a preference for a top three spot and two bites in the finals.
We achieved the top three berth with ease, however it was disappointing not to snare a home final.
With the Clydesdales beating the Young Guns in the final premiership match, we faced the Young Guns in Townsville for the right to met Toowoomba for entry into the grand final.
A loss to the Young Guns will see us take on the winner of the No 4 and No 5 showdown.
Beating the Young Guns on their dunghill is a big assignment, but we have achieved that before and we are not intimidated by the trip.
The coming month shapes as an exciting for our players, coaching staff and club as we attempt to bring the Cup back to the Peninsula.
OUR second-rower Danny Burke has racked up a remarkable achievement in a truly short time.
Danny played his 150th fixture against Tweed last month after only six seasons with the Dolphins.
CEO James Hinchey produced statistics which showed Danny plays 22 games a season, a great testament to his toughness and fitness.
He might be inching towards the veteran class however Danny seems to be getting better with age.
He is a coach's dream as he listens to instructions, works hard on his game and is never a worry.
And all this from a forward who works hard each day as a carpenter with Q-Build. He possesses strong mental instincts to ignore niggling injuries and still play 50-60 minutes a match.
His fellow forwards Troy Lindsay and Grant Flugge have similar characteristics and make coaching somewhat of an easier assignment.
UNFORTUNATELY our A grade bowed out last month.
Despite their final mid-table position, this season produced a lot of positives with Dom Fallini, Chris Jelich and Pat McGill playing Premier League this season.
Dom, Scott Gillis and Mitchell Simpson have been added to our 23-strong squad for the top side's finals campaign.
It was tremendous that we were able to bring on a number of junior products through into this side and it augurs well for the future.
Grant Cleal also deserves praise because whenever any of his charges were brought into the top side they played up to the mark and you can't ask for more than that.
On a sad note, former premiership player Matt Anderton has retired.
The club wishes him well as he has been a great servant and a great contributor to the success of Dolphin Oval.
In good news for the club, our Colts finished in the top two and will figure in the finals yet again.
Coach Matt Wood has done a fine job in blending juniors with recruits to compete against sides with NRL links and recruitment systems.
They have had a great season and only just missed out on the minor premiership.
It would be fantastic to see four or five of them force their way into A grade next season as it's important to have our under 19s feeding through our senior system.