Tweed targets Qld Cup with big buy-up

NEW blood should make the Tweed Heads Seagulls a force to be reckoned with in the Queensland Cup next year.

Tweed is currently negotiating for seven big signings including three top Cook Islands forwards and two up-and-coming NRL players.

Tweed Seagulls president Tom Searle said the Cook Islands players were former international Graham Jefferies, Terry Tara and Darna Wilson.

Also in Tweed's sights are Wests Tigers' Brad Davis, Tim McCann from Penrith Panthers, Jay McDermott, a former South Queensland Crushers player returning to football from a stint of professional golfing, and Courtney Bond, who was named best Brisbane Colts player when they won the Queensland Cup in 2000.

"We're also negotiating with our own players wanting to stay here," Searle said.

More than 80 players turned up for the club's first pre-season training session last Sunday at the Tallebudgera Leisure Centre.

The club's A-grade, reserves and under-18 teams will play in the new combined NSW Northern Rivers (Group 1/18) competition next year, while the Queensland Cup side will be out to improve on last year's eighth position in the 11-team competition.

Searle said preparations were well under way for the big pre-season promotional clash between Tweed Heads' Queensland Cup side and the US Tomahawks on February 5 at Lismore.

The game will be the curtain-raiser for the NRL pre-season trial match between Parramatta and Cronulla.

This year's pre-season NRL trial game held at Ballina drew a staggering 12,000 fans and about the same number are expected for the Lismore match.

Off the field the club is also active, negotiating with a major sponsor for the 2005-06 season, and undertaking auditioning for a new Seagulls cheer squad to be known as the Gullettes.

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