Jets blast into 2009
THE Bilambil Jets are off to a flying start in the 2009 Gold Coast Rugby League season after claiming the Hinterland Nines Pre-Season tournament on Sunday.
The nine-a-side competition, now in its second year, attracted 16 teams from 14 clubs on the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Ipswich, and was the first hit-out for many sides in the lead-up to the start of the Coast's regular season on March 22.
It was the perfect beginning to the year for new Bilambil coach Troy McCarthy, who took a 15-man squad up to Glennon Park, Nerang for the tournament.
In sweltering conditions, the Jets' side, which McCarthy described as “a good mix of youth and experience”, not only showed plenty of enthusiasm to down last year's winner Currumbin 16-8 to win the $2000 first prize, but also claimed some other prized scalps on the way to the final.
Gold Coast league premiers Southport were one of the teams to fall victim to a revved up Bilambil, going down to them in the semi-final.
In a torrid clash, the Jets ran out victors 18-8, while in the other semi, Currumbin defeated the host club Hinterland 24-8.
“This was a great win for the boys, considering we had virtually no preparation,” McCarthy said.
“We had a few under-19 players and some older guys to guide them around the park, and in very hot conditions, the boys really stuck to their guns.
“I thought from our early rounds, we were the best defensive side on the day, and was quietly confident of taking it out after downing Southport.
“We were also able to mix things up in attack and keep sides guessing.
“I know this is only a nine-a-side competition, but the win is a great confidence-booster for the club and has really generated a bit of excitement around the place.”
McCarthy, who coached the Tweed Heads Seagulls to the 2007 Queensland Cup premiership, said among the players who really stood up were Ben Rigney, Jedd Watson, Jared Broadhurst, James Marcus and captain Andrew Cross.
“We can't afford to get carried away and there is still a lot of work to do before the start of the season, but a win at this stage of the year has lifted the spirits at Bilambil,” McCarthy said.
The Jets' next challenge is their first of two trial matches, taking on the Murwillumbah Mustangs at Bilambil this Saturday, March 7.
The clubs will meet in three grades with the under-19s kicking off at 2pm (DST) and the A grade at 4.30pm (DST).