Well the trials are completed and all is in readiness for the 2006 FOGS Colts Challenge, which will feature several players that have come from last year's BJRL U17A Competition. Here are my pre-season thoughts on the teams, with some preseason odds and predicted finish positions:
ASPLEY:The Broncos feeder club will be at the mercy of their parent clubs, the Broncos and the Clydesdale and are starting the season behind the eight ball with many players throughout the club struggling to recover from injury. Did not win a game during the trials, but will be looking to turn that round from the first game against the rookie Sunshine Coast Falcons team - may struggle to put consistent results together, but at full strength could beat anyone.
Prediction 2nd Odds: 4/1
BURLEIGH: Played well throughout the season last year but bowed out disappointingly with some shocking performances in the finals. Share feeder club duties for the new Titans with Tweed and Ipswich. Plenty of talent but will be looking for more consistency as well.
Prediction 5th Odds 6/1
EASTS:Always competitive but have struggled to put away the better sides in previous years. Have access to a good pool of juniors and may be a surprise packet.
Prediction 6th Odds 7/1
IPSWICH: Has been a real cleanout of players at the Jets this year and have performed ok during the trials. Should show benefit of linking with Titans
Prediction 7th Odds 8/1
NORTHS:Have looked very impressive during trials despite a number of players from last year's preniership side moving to the Qld Cup and Melbourne Storm squads. Benefit from an influx of players from the all-conquerng Norths 2005 U17 side. Will be hard to beat.
Prediction 1st Odds 5/2
REDCLIFFE: Qld's strongest "stand alone" club and will be well-drilled under coach Craig "Trigger: Ingebrigsten. Have performed impressively in trials and will be there at the end.
Prediction 3rd Odds 5/1
SOUTHS-LOGAN: Have put plenty of big players on the field during the trials backed by some excitement machines like Mase Laulu. Focus and fitness will be the key for the Magpies over a long season.
Prediction: 8th Odds 9/1
SUNSHINE COAST:Could be a long year for the competition newcomers. Have not lacked courage in trials but the drain of talented Sunshine Coast players to Brisbane clubs will mean they will struggle with raw talent and depth.
Prediction: 11th Odds 50/1
TWEED HEADS:Like their North coast fellow newcomers the Tweed side may struggle with the increased quality of the competition but will benefit from having a number of Titan scholarship holders on board. Will be tough at home but the constant travel may cause problems as the season progresses.
Prediction: 10th Odds 12/1
WESTERN DISTRICTS: As Hills Districts last year were surprise semi-finalists and then went one further knocking over Redcliffe in the elimination semi. Have a number of impressive looking Kiwi imports but may struggle with depth and don't look as good on paper as last year.
Prediction: 9th Odds 10/1
WYNNUM: Have looked very impressive during trials and have a good blend of youth and experienced colts players. The bayside has been a great nursery for quality footballers and the green-and-reds could be the surprise side of this years comp.
Prediction 4th Odds 11/2
Wynnum showed they will be a force to be reckoned with in the FOGS Challenge with a 40-12 trial win over Aspley today. Admittedly Aspley were below strength and the game was a scrappy affair played in oppressive conditions, but the Wynnum side showed some flashes of brilliance in attack and were resolute in defence. U18 players Matt Smith and Luke Mehninnit shone for the winners between them scoring 18 points in the first half to set up a 22-0 lead to the home side at the break. Converted tries to Alex Tallon and Steven Johnston brought the visitors back within 10 points early in the second half, but that would be as close as they would get, with Wynnum running away to win 40-12. U18 Players from last year's Brissie U17 comp on display were Alex T, Struddy, AJ and Vaughan Eriksen for Aspley, along with Scott Millar from Wide Bay, and Matt Smith and Mitchell Muir for Wynnum , along with Nathan Beckett (WB) and Luke Menhinnit (Twba). Incidenttaly Jacob Fauid had a very good game in a losing side in the Qld Cup trial held this evening. Scorers: Wynnum 40 (M.Smith 2, B.Cronin, M.Aitkin, L.Menhinnit, C.McQueen, W.Jensen, R.Congoo tries, Menhinnit 4 goals) def Aspley 12 (A.Tallon, S.Johnston tries, Tallon 2 goals).
In other games Wests defeated a Norths side which did not play any of its storm contracted players 24-22, and Easts defeated Souths-Logan - score tba.