Seagulls may ruffle feathers
WIDE Bay Rugby League officials may heavily scrutinise the Hervey Bay Seagulls’ 2010 Bundaberg Rugby League campaign, but it’s the competition’s other teams that should be watching their backs.
That is the opinion of Northern Wide Bay operations manager Dave Pearce, who believes the Seagulls will be a force this season after they were accepted to play in the BRL in 2010 following a much-publicised appeal.
“I firmly believe they’ll be the dark horses,” Pearce said.
“They’ve got one of the best attacking weapons in Clinton Horne. He’s got brilliant speed.”
Another Seagulls stand-out, according to Pearce, is young back-rower Tyrone Hopgood.
“He’s at the right age to show everyone what he can do,” Pearce said.
The well-built Hervey Bay junior, who already has links to the Manly Sea Eagles, is a potent attacking weapon, at his most dangerous 20m out from the opposition line.
“He reads the game so well. He has a tremendous fend, he’s big, well-built,” Pearce said.
“He’ll go places.”
Bundaberg Rugby League president Mal Breen is excited about the season ahead.
“We had a meeting the other night and each club is as keen as mustard to buy a few players and lift the standard all round,” Breen said.
“Having more teams in the competition means it gives the players more variety of sides to play against, and I think it’s going to be a more balanced competition this year.”
Wide Bay officials will keep a close eye on the Seagulls’ progress.
“They’ve been put on notice that if they have two forfeits, they would have to submit to only having one side in the league and may have to return to the Fraser Coast competition,” Breen said.
“But if Hervey Bay go through this year and want to stay with Bundaberg Rugby League, then they shouldn’t have a problem re-applying in future.”
The Seagulls will field three teams in the BRL: A-grade, Leagues 11 and under-18s.
Breen was sure the decision to accept the Seagulls into the BRL was the right one for all involved.
“There’s a better standard of competition here and they really didn’t want to play on a Friday night,” he said.