Swift start to rugby league
AN EXCITED president, new coach and a long-awaited start to the Ipswich Rugby League competition begins at Swifts tomorrow.
To kick-start the rugby league season, Swifts will host the Ipswich Rugby League Nines' competition at Purga.
Former Bluebirds skipper Robbie Carr has taken over as president at Swifts and has been counting down the days until round one.
Carr was an inspiration on the field, winning a premiership in 2002 and was skipper of the grand final side which lost to Goodna in 2005.
Carr said tomorrow's tournament would be a welcome start to the rugby league season.
"It's a new concept for the IRL," Carr said. "I think it is following on the back of the NRL's Auckland Nines success."
Swifts won the bid to be the first host of the new Nines' competition which has attracted 16 teams from across the region.
The jam-packed program will feature 27 games played on the one day. Carr expected the exciting format to be a hit with Ipswich fans.
"Everyone has been deprived of football," he said. "Everyone is keen to get down to the grounds and it should be a successful day out
"Hopefully this could become an annual thing."
Another Swifts veteran, Steve O'Connell has stepped up from Reserve grade to take the reigns of senior coach.
After three years as coach, O'Connell has been rewarded for leading the Bluebirds Reserves to a premiership last year.
Just like the Reserves, the former Swifts player said success in A-grade will ride on the shoulders of the club's younger players.
"We've had a big turnover of players but we are getting there," O'Connell said. "We are bringing a lot of our younger players through the ranks.
"Swifts have a huge program to develop our younger players."
O'Connell said the weekends Nines' competition would be a chance to see a few of his new players in action for the first time.
"We've got a few guys coming from other clubs who we haven't seen play yet," he said. "I think you'll see a lot of skill on display on Saturday.
"It's probably a little less serious but it's good for the community and a real positive for the club to be able to host."
In his playing days O'Connell liked to lead from the front. He has enjoyed adapting to his current role as coach.
"They're totally different roles," he said. "As a coach you have to have a level of diversity and be able to handle dealing with a range of different people.
"It's a good way to get involved with the club."
The first of 24 games begins at 1pm tomorrow at Swifts Rugby League Club at Purga. The grand final is scheduled for 6.40pm.
- Pool 1: Swifts (Blue), Brothers (Blue), Eastern Cobras (Black) and Valleys Reggies.
- Pool 2: Brothers (White), Redbank Plains Bears, Rosewood Roosters and Fassifern Bombers.
- Pool 3: Brothers (Colts), Goodna (Black), Norths (Blue) and Valleys Young Guns.
- Pool 4: Swifts (Red), Goodna (Blue), Eastern Cobras and Lowood Lions.