Who is in best shape: Tigers, Bears or Bombers?
IN the latest look at how the Rugby League Ipswich A-Grade teams are preparing for the new season, the spotlight is on Norths, Redbank and Fassifern.
Norths: Why they can win - They are a young side who gained a lot of A-Grade game time last year.
Tonga Moun'ga returns to the Tigers and will add a heap of experience out wide.
Reports have Josh Roberts maybe pulling the boots on again. If this happens, they are a completely different side with a lot more attacking flair.
If they can minimise their handling errors early in games, the Tigers will be fighting out many games at the end.
Why they can't win: The Tigers lack some experienced players with the retirement of West and Scanlon. They will need some younger players to stand up when things get tough. This might see them on the wrong side of the ledger in some games. Norths lack a match-winning game breaker.
Finals tip: Capable of making the top four.
Redbank: Why they can win - The Bears had a great season last year and if they can build on that, they will again be a force. The Bears always have a big forward pack before their speedy backs take over adding the polish.
They have one of the best home ground records in the competition, making it a tough place for opposing teams to visit.
Why they can't win: The off-season hasn't been kind to the Bears with the coach and more than half the team not returning. They look like having an inexperienced team and might struggle against the top sides. The Bears have no trial form to speak off. Losses early will mean they will be playing catch-up for most of the season.
Finals tip: Unfortunately after a great 2019, 2020 will not be Redbank's season and they will miss the top four.
Fassifern: Why they can win - Fassifern showed some form glimpses on several occasions last year. If they can compete with the big sides for longer periods, they will win more than their share of games. Bernard Mosby returns home after several years away and will add more attacking flair to the Bombers.
The Bombers have a new coach in Michael Hayes. If he can get them
going like he did with last year's Reserve Grade side, they will
surprise a lot of teams.
Why they can't win: The Bombers are a team that normally starts the season slow. If they continue this form, they will be chasing the top sides and
night find it too hard to catch up. Their away form last year wasn't flash and if they don't rectify this, another disappointing season could be on the cards.
Handling errors was one of the major reasons they lost games in 2019. A repeat will create too much pressure when they fall behind in games.
Finals: Fassifern were wooden spooners last year but they will be passing that over this year with a top four spot possible.
New era kicks off
WOMEN'S rugby league moves into a new era this weekend with the
beginning of the new Statewide Competition called the BHP Premiership.
Ipswich will be represented by Brothers FC in this eight-team series.
Brothers open the season tomorrow at home against newcomers in the North Queensland Gold Stars.
Brothers will also be battling for the title against Burleigh, Easts, Tweed, Souths, Wests and Central Queensland.
The women will play each team once before preliminary finals and a grand final on May 17 at Langlands Park.
If you are keen to see how the female game is progressing, get down early as Brothers will be battling Goodna in trial games in under 14, 16 and 18 grades starting at 11.45am.
The Brothers BHP Premiership game will kick off at 3pm.
HEROES: 1. The Aussie women cricketers started the T20 World Cup with a loss but gradually built up their performances before peaking in the final by demolishing India before an Australian record crowd of 86,174 for a female sporting event.
2. Demsey McKean achieved his 19th straight victory by TKO last weekend when he defeated American Jonathan Rice in a tough physical contest. McKean was ranked no14 in the world for the WBO belt but surely will rise higher after this win.
Villains: 1. The NSW Waratahs were spoken about pre-season as having a huge year. After five games, they are in disarray with only one victory against the low placed Lions.
Sporting birthdays: 1. 1950 - Joe Bugner (Australian boxing champion).
On this day: 1. 1943 - Baseball approve an official ball made of cork and balata.
2. 1956 - New Zealand bowl out the West Indies for 77 to score their first Test victory.
3. 1984 - Last day of 1st class cricket for Greg Chappell, Rod Marsh and Bruce Laird.
Bomber's best: My Australian Cup horse tip led turning for home but unfortunately disappointed in the straight.
The NRL competition has started and winning teams will be Canberra, Souths and Newcastle.