West End looking fit for shot at Ipswich A-grade premiership
HE MAY have been talking up the opposition, but when Brothers coach Dean Daylight said if ever West End were to win an A grade comp it would be this year.
He might not have been far from the money.
Everything is rolling along nicely for the Bulldogs ahead of what shapes as the tightest IRL title race in at least a decade.
Mind you, Daylight could have just been shifting the pressure, having seen another player from his club head down Chermside Road.
Kiti Notoa has joined his brother Fili at the Bulldogs, shifting from the Brethren in the off-season.
"He's trimmed down a bit," West End coach Randall Wilson said of the big front rower.
Former Goodna and Brothers second rower Liu Faamate has also been training with the Bulldogs but is awaiting word on a new job which would make him unavailable.
"I think we can improve right across the park really," Wilson said.
"A lot of blokes last year were in their first year of A grade.
"In our trial on the weekend they really stepped up."
Among those to impress the coach in the trial against the Sandgate Gators were Chris Fuiava and Victor Hunt.
"I can see now, at training, they've grown as players," Wilson said.
Former captain Dale Lewis has recommitted to the club. He is looking as fit as Wilson has seen him.
Andrew Walker is expecting a clearance from his former club in Lismore shortly, to begin his halves partnership with former Brothers back Shane Gibson.
Walker's presence at the club has reportedly brought out the best in fullback Errol Palmer, giving Wilson more options out wide.
"Walks has got him switched on," Wilson said.
"He gives us the option of moving Brook Alofipo back to the centres."
It's one area in particular they were caught out in trial against new Brisbane Rugby League team the Gators.
"They gave us a bit of a touch-up," Wilson said.
"But our forward pack muscled up.
"All their points came out wide and we had a number of reserve grade and under 19s in our outside backs."
West End A grade has a trial tonight, against Brothers St Brendan's at Rocklea.