Officials hope trial becomes a fixture


OFFICIALS in both camps hope that Friday night's trial match between Calliope and Miriam Vale will become a permanent fixture on the rugby league calendar.

Respective coaches Mick Pengelly (Calliope) and Dave Lucas (Miriam Vale) are pleased with their early season preparations although, with the Central Burnett Rugby League premiership not kicking off until the end of April, the Calliope side is still rusty.

Pengelly said while a majority of his 2005 squad would return to action, it had been significantly boosted by a number of new signings.

'We have more quality players this year,' Pengelly said yesterday. 'We had our first training run with the ball this week and already we were looking better than we finished last year.'

Among them is halfback Chris Doyle around whose passing game the team's attack can be built while second-rower Mark Matthews will step into the centres this season.

Lucas is looking forward to seeing how his troops respond to the loss of stars Spencer Mariner, last year's player of the year who has moved to Bundaberg, and 2005 captain Steve Plunkett who has work commitments.

'We've lost five players from last year's run-on side so that's weakened us,' Lucas said. 'But we've retained our core group from last year so hopefully we can have another good year.'

The match gets under way at the Calliope rugby league ground on Sutherland Street at 8pm. It will be preceded by Gladstone Junior Rugby League under-15 trial matches which start at 5pm.

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