Jets fire up for season opener
AHEAD of their season-opening clash at home to Parkwood tomorrow afternoon, coach Troy McCarthy says the Bilambil Jets must be firing on all cylinders before they can take off.
McCarthy transformed a run-of-the-mill Tweed Heads Seagulls into 2007 Queensland Cup premiers, and led a budding Bilambil side to the 2009 Gold Coast Rugby League grand final.
However, this latest challenge could prove his toughest.
With another year under their belts and the core of last year’s brilliance still on deck, Tweed rugby league fans are expecting big things from the side that steamrolled past the ever-powerful Tugun and minor premiers Southport in their finals blitz.
But McCarthy mustn’t let his troops get ahead of themselves.
He saw what can happen last week when Bilambil’s brashness led to an upset defeat in their last pre-season trial.
Although he can take solace in the fact his boys impressed in their triumphant trial with Cudgen a fortnight ago, McCarthy knows his Jets must come back down to earth.
“We saw the result of getting ahead of ourselves last week, and we know it can’t happen again,” he said.
“We got frustrated when things didn’t come together and lost our way.
“Early in the season you need to lay a good base before you can start looking good.
“We’ve worked hard, though, and the boys are looking good, so we’re excited to get into it.
“We’ll play what we see and if we keep our heads on, we should be alright.”
One concern punters had for Bilambil was size, but with new gym facilities available to all players at the clubhouse, McCarthy says shoulders are broadening.
“The boys are thickening up,” he said.
“They’ve got the height and, with a bit more work, they’ll have all the bulk they’ll need.”
On the whole the Jets have escaped the pre-season unscathed, though Guy Lanston, fresh from a stint with NSW state leaguers Newton Jets, has a lingering hamstring injury.
Two members of last year’s grand final side, James Marcus and Tim Mason, will also be missed, having a stint in the second grade while they work on match fitness.
First grade action kicks off at Bilambil Sports Ground at 3pm.
South Tweed will also open its season tomorrow at 3pm, away to Beaudesert at RS Willis Park.