Whales want to start season with a big win
UNION: Wide Bay Whales coach Luke McCloskey says tonight's match against Mackay is the perfect way to start the rugby union season in Bundaberg.
In the largest day of rugby union in the region in the past 20 years, four matches will be held at The Waves Sports Grounds to kick-start the new season.
With two junior matches, an over-35 showdown and a Reds to Rookie program there will be plenty of action during the day.
Finally the Wide Bay Whales will start preparing for next year's Central Queensland Championships with a match against Mackay.
Talking about the day ahead McCloskey said with last year's season Spring Cup starting quickly, they wanted a day where people could get excited about union being back.
"We thought that it would be a perfect way to start with a pre-season game,” he said.
"There will be a fair bit of entertainment for everyone and the Whales will be ripping in.”
With the Spring Cup starting in two weeks, with junior teams added as well, McCloskey said the new season was starting to take shape.
"It's shaping up to be a cracker of the season with all sides looking strong so far from what I've seen,” he said.
"We can't wait for it to begin.”
For now the focus is on Mackay, with McCloskey wary of the side after they just finished their season.
With fitness one of their strengths heading into the clash, the Whales coach said they needed to come out and play well.
"They are rugby fit and will be very strong across the park,” he said.
"They are also strong in set plays and their backs are not too bad either.”
"We will need to limit their opportunities and maximise ours.”
Leading the team out for the Whales will be Turtles captain Brendon McKeown.
"We've been concentrating on our plays and getting our combinations right,” he said.
"It's a nice honour as well being named as captain for the representative season.”
McKeown said we should look out for certain players in the encounter.
"Vahiti Hopoi will be strong coming off the bench,” he said.
"Jimmy Courtice, Andrew Filo and Isko Pongi are also others to watch out for.”
All the action of the day will start at 1.30pm with spectators getting in with a gold coin donation.
The Wide Bay Whales will take on Mackay at 6.30pm.
TEAM: Peni Vesikula, Adam Griffiths, Tom Hewitt, Ben Latu, Chris Rose, Iski Pongi, Andrew Filo, Steve Bertram, Danny Moran, Luke Wolters, Kallan Morgan, Jake Bauer, Matt Ross, Mitch Thompson, Nick McKay, Sean Fitzpatrick, Kevin Meiers, Brendon McKeown (captain), Ed Ball, Jimmy Courtice, Kale Hendle, Jasper Briggden, Tomasi Bainisavu, Tukere Hikaka, Vahiti Hopoi, Brayden Wilson, James Tatuila, Siua Vai Jr, Peter Van Rooyan, Marcus Sinclair, Andy Golchert, Josh Hutchinson.