Stags and Devils face off
IT WAS only meant to be a trial match on Saturday, but ended up much more, and as the game neared completion the score was locked at 10-all.
The game was a hard-fought battle for bragging rights between last year's C Grade grand finalists, the Stags, and A Grade grand finalists Devils with no one coming out on top.
Granted the Devils fielded only five of last year's A Grade squad; the rest of the team was made up of Reserve Grade and new players the club wanted to test in match conditions.
But the Stags were testing some players as well.
Captain/coach of the Stags, Chad Parker, said his team had four new players who hadn't played league since they left school.
"I was pretty happy," Parker said.
"We have only four training sessions so it wasn't too bad, but we still have a lot of improving to do."
Parker said he was impressed with how the new Stags played in the trial and was hoping they would help the club to its first-ever premiership this season.
"The trial was to get a look at a few new fellas and get some match fitness.
"You think you are going all right at training until you get a game," Parker said.
"The new fellas are pretty quick, so that will be handy.
"Our aim is to get a second crack at the grand final.
Gympie Devils captain /coach Kris Kahler said he was happy with how some of his players came through the game.
"Obviously we didn't run the A Grade squad," Kahler said.
"It would have been good to put a few more points on them, but some of our guys really aimed up."
Kahler said he was happy with Matt Staines, Jamie Dawes and Shaun Wilson.
He also liked the look of Ben Harney, who is having his first year back in footy after a shoulder operation.
"Harney looked really good at hooker or five-eight," Kahler said.
"He will be pretty handy to have up my sleeve."
At the moment Kahler has a glut of players vying for selection in the A and Reserve Grade sides.
"We are getting pretty good numbers to training," Kahler said.
"It will be tough come round one because some handy players will miss out.
"When we have the amount of depth we have at the moment, it is hard to put everyone in the side.
He said this year Devils would have a real home-grown feel.
The team has plenty of local talent in the forwards with Kahler, Billy Rogers, Riley McDowall, Kurt Fleming, Shaun Wilson and James Hogan just a few aiming up for a pack position.
"We also have a heap of halves," Kahler said.
"It is a bit of headache with selections, but we will see how it goes and how players perform on the field."