FRIENDLY FOES: From left – Matt Baker, Dylan 'Choppy' Lawson, Mack Mackan, Khan Reby, Eli Bailey, Steven Marker, Lilli-Rose Marker, Nate Cacioppa, Amber Trotter, Sahdarna Croskery, Lucas Jack, Bryce Page, Jarvis Miller, Rance Coop, Jake Marker. PICTURE: Nick Kossatch
FRIENDLY FOES: From left – Matt Baker, Dylan 'Choppy' Lawson, Mack Mackan, Khan Reby, Eli Bailey, Steven Marker, Lilli-Rose Marker, Nate Cacioppa, Amber Trotter, Sahdarna Croskery, Lucas Jack, Bryce Page, Jarvis Miller, Rance Coop, Jake Marker. PICTURE: Nick Kossatch

League clubs celebrate 10th anniversary

RUGBY LEAGUE: Gladstone Valleys Junior Rugby League president Steve Marker expects fans to come in droves to Valleys on Saturday.

TRADITION

It’s the annual Valleys versus Wallabys Pre-Season Challenge Cup — being run for the 10th time — and action starts at 9am and continues through to the division one men’s game at 4.40pm.

FRIENDLY FOES: From left – Matt Baker, Dylan 'Choppy' Lawson, Mack Mackan, Khan Reby, Eli Bailey, Steven Marker, Lilli-Rose Marker, Nate Cacioppa, Amber Trotter, Sahdarna Croskery, Lucas Jack, Bryce Page, Jarvis Miller, Rance Coop, Jake Marker. PICTURE: Nick Kossatch
FRIENDLY FOES: From left – Matt Baker, Dylan 'Choppy' Lawson, Mack Mackan, Khan Reby, Eli Bailey, Steven Marker, Lilli-Rose Marker, Nate Cacioppa, Amber Trotter, Sahdarna Croskery, Lucas Jack, Bryce Page, Jarvis Miller, Rance Coop, Jake Marker. PICTURE: Nick Kossatch

“While the drawcard is all footy, the focus is on families coming together and having a great day out while watching the little ones’ very first time playing footy, through to some great local talent pulling the boots on for the first time this season,” Marker said.

“It is a great opportunity for the clubs to have a run prior to the start of the season in the Rugby League Gladstone competition and is an avenue to raise some much-needed funds to help cover operational costs at the start of every year.”

HISTORY

The yearly fixture started on February 26, 2011, at Wallabys’ Albion Park home base.

It was an idea that was brought about by Wallabys’ then president Adam Hamilton.

“It was then put to the then president of Valleys, Murry Bale, and the Pre-Season Challenge Cup was born, with the main agenda to bring the two clubs closer together,” Marker said.

ADVANTAGE VALLEYS

Valleys hold an 8-1 advantage but veteran Wallabys player Matt Baker said the trial game would be a good early season guide against the 2019 grand final winners.

“We had a pretty successful season last year and, for us, the game will be to see how we go against last year’s premiers,” he said.

Baker was excited about what emerging young player Tallis Farrar would bring to the team.

Baker’s teammate Dylan Lawson looks forward to the challenge on Saturday afternoon.

“Pre-season has been going good and we have been ­working hard with the boys and have been trying to get more numbers at training,” he said.

Lawson, otherwise known as “Choppy” but for no particular reason, said Baker and other experienced players had been a good influence on his development.

At 21 years, he has been at Wallabys for 17 years.

“I made my debut for seniors when I was 17 years old,” he said.

He plays fullback, centre and wing positions.

“I’m just expecting to have a good hitout with Valleys and see where we need to improve,” Lawson said.

BATTLE OF THE BIRDS

Meanwhile there is another pre-season competition on Saturday and that’s the Battle of the Birds between Calliope Roosters and Tannum Seagulls at the Calliope Footy Grounds.

The pre-season competition between the two clubs will field several Calliope Roosters and Tannum Seagull teams from under-6 through to under-13.

The first game starts at 1.10pm, with the final match between Calliope and Tannum at 4.55pm.

The weather forecast is for a medium chance of a shower and thunderstorm with a maximum of 31C.

RELATED STORY: TRADITIONAL CLASH BETWEEN WALLABYS AND VALLEYS

RELATED STORY: Wallabys advance with win over Valleys

SATURDAY SCHEDULE

CHALLENGE CUP

U6: 9am, 9.10am, 9.20am; U7: 9.40am, 10.10am; U8: 10.40am

U9: 11.10am, 11.20am, 11.30am; U10: 11.45am U11: 12.30pm, 12.45pm, 1pm U12: 1.30pm U13: 2.15pm Women: Wallabys v Rocky North D2: Valleys v Wallabys: 3.20pm D1: Valleys v Wallabys: 4.40pm

BATTLE OF THE BIRDS

U6: C Red v C Blue – field 1A; U7: C Blue v T Red – field 1B; U7: C Red v T Green – field 1 – 1.10pm. U8: C Red v T Green – field 1; U9: C Blue v T Red – field 2 – 1.40pm. U8: C Blue v T Red – field 1; U9: C Red v T Green – 2.10pm. Three U10 games at 2.40pm – round robin. One U11 game at 3.35pm. One U12 game at 4.15pm. One U13 game at 4.55pm



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