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After two years in the Brisbane competition Brothers-Valleys have been accepted into the 2004 Queensland Cup. The decision to admit them was made easier for the QRL after foundation Club Wests Panthers chose to withdraw.
Brothers-Valleys fielded A Grade and Colts sides in the BRL since the club was formed in late 2001. The club was formed out of the ashes of former BRL clubs Past Brothers and Valleys Diehards.
Clubman Hugh Fitzgerald says Brothers-Valleys are aiming to be competitive in 2004. ?We?d like to win 10 games and finish around mid table?, said Hugh.
?Optus have come on board as major sponsor and we?ll be playing out of O'Callaghan Park at Zillmere? continued Fitzgerald. ?Our long term financial viability is very important to us?.
Brothers-Valleys are negotiating with a 2003 NRL Player and several 2003 Queensland Cup players. There are also existing players who the club feels will ?step up? and make their mark at the next level. 2003 Brothers-Valleys BRL players Luke Trahair, Steve Shilvock (brother of Redcliffe winger Phil), and Odell Harris are expected to debut in the Qld Cup as well as 2003 Colt Josh Morris if he doesn?t sign with St George-Illawarra. Another Colt Jason Chan is already on his way to the sister club.
On Feb 28 next year Brothers-Valleys will trial against the Burleigh Bears at Cararra as the early game to the St George-Illawarra v Bulldogs trial. Former Logan Scorpions and last seasons BRL coach at Brothers-Valleys, Gary O?Brien will coach the new Qld Cup side. Craig Grauf will be assistant coach while Brian Roberts will remain CEO.
Wests are hoping their withdrawal from the Queensland Cup will only be temporary. The Panthers have been struggling under crippling debt for several years but are within sight of balancing their bankbook. With a partnership with the Broncos whereby Brisbane will transfer their Colts side from the Toowoomba competition to the Panthers, Wests on-field costs will be reduced in 2004. Almost all of last seasons Qld Cup Squad have re-signed to play BRL A Grade. All players are dual registered with the Clydesdales so they can play Qld Cup if good enough.
Darren Bell stays on as CEO while veteran Wests coach Wayne Treleavan is rumoured to be taking the A Grade role. John Dixon of the Broncos will coach the Colts. The club intends to play out of Purtell Park in 2004 with A Grade, Colts, and 2nd Division games on match days.
This will be the first season since 1909 that the Panthers have not contested the premier Qld competition. Wests hope to be debt free in 2005 and intend to apply for re-admission to the Qld Cup. What role the Broncos will play in this is yet to be determined though many believe the arrangement with the Clydesdales will not continue after 2004.