Premiership-winning Brothers A-Grade captain Wes Conlon. Picture: Rob Williams
Premiership-winning Brothers A-Grade captain Wes Conlon. Picture: Rob Williams

Why Brothers the team to beat for title

BOMBER'S BLAST

THE Rugby League Ipswich competition is only three short weeks away so here is my early report card on two clubs.

Brothers: Why they can win - two words Wes Conlon.

The reigning RLI Player of the Year returns to steer Brothers around the park. If he produces what we saw last year, they will be holding the trophy aloft again.

This club trains professionally and takes that on to the playing field on game days.

Coach Jason Connors always has a game plan and more often than not they play to it and the results follow.

It would be a silly person to say that they won't be around when the whips are cracking in September.

Why they can't win: Brothers have had a few important players leave the club which will bring them back to the field a little. Josh Afoa, John Maila and Michael Saili Motu are the top players, which leaves some big holes to fill. The club does have depth but does it have the quality depth needed to go all the way?

A grand final hangover could also be on the cards.

Finals: Mark it in permanent pen. Brothers will be in the top four.

 

Swifts strongman Jake O'Doherty. Picture: Rob Williams
Swifts strongman Jake O'Doherty. Picture: Rob Williams

 

Swifts: Why they can win - The old adage you have to lose one to win one will be ringing in their ears for the Bluebirds. They have retained nearly every player that took them to the grand final last year and will be hungry to go that one step further this year.

RLI Player of the Year runner-up Jake O'Doherty returns and will be the most important player on the field for them.

New coach Stuart Brown will bring some fresh methods and the playing group would be silly not to listen to this experienced campaigner.

Why they can't win: They dropped off in several games last year and will need to put in committed efforts week in, week out to stay a premiership force.

An injury to O'Doherty will severely hamper their chances of success.

Coach Brown brings new ideas to the playing group but will that be enough to take them that one step further?

Finals: Swifts will be top four come season's end and then a new competition starts.

Positive signs

SOCCER tragics got their first glimpse of serious action from their clubs with all Ipswich teams producing encouraging performances.

Western Pride got their Queensland Premier League title chase underway with a victory and their youth sides also produced great wins.

Ipswich's other QPL side, the Knights, started in great form defeating Souths United.

The Knights showed that they will be a force in this competition.

Western Spirit fought to the end to claim victory in their round 2 FFA Cup fixture and the Ipswich City Bulls also secured victory to advance them to the third round.

Newly promoted Ripley Valley unfortunately went down in their FFA Cup clash to a higher division opponent in Surfers Paradise but the signs were they will be no pushovers in their new competition this year.

Quick thoughts

HEROES: 1. Tyson Fury showed that he is one of the meanest boxers in the world by dismantling the previous undefeated Deontay Wilder. What's next for the Gypsy King?

2. The Sydney Roosters showed thier NRL opponents they will be a super force for a three-peat by winning the World Club Challenge. Bet against them at your peril.

Villains: 1. Nick Kyrgios warmed our hearts with some stirring performances at the Australian Open but has quickly returned to his bad ways. He pulled out of his first round match halfway through with a wrist injury then proceeded with a foul mouth attack of the crowd who booed him off the court. Sometimes you have to just suck it up and move on.

2. The ASC are reducing funding to swimmers at grassroots level but still want us to perform when the big meets come around in the future.

All champions start at the bottom and that is where funding should increase, not decrease.

Sporting birthdays: 1. 1940 - Mario Andretti (champion Formula 1 driver).

2. 1957 - Ian Smith (New Zealand Test wicket-keeper).

3. 1970 - Noureddine Morceli (Algerian 1500m Olympic champion).

4. 1999 - Luka Doncic (champion NBA player).

On this day: 1. 1940 - 1st televised basketball game.

2. 1958 - West Indies end Day 3 chasing Pakistan's 328 at 1/504 with Garfield Sobers 365no and Conrad Hunte 260no.

3. 1971 - Jack Nicklaus wins his 2nd Career Grand Slam.

Bomber's best: My horse tip last week Hanseatic ran a terrific race to only just miss

saluting the judge so I have headed back to the track to find a winner.

Check out Melbourne race 4, horse 2 Sylvia's Mother.