As a curtain raiser to the TRL Australian Championships, TRL will feature an international series – Australia vs New Zealand and Vietnam vs Rest of the World.

Whilst the Australia v New Zealand game will attract a lot of attention, the quality on show for both Vietnam and Rest of the World will be immense. The Vietnam team is lead by Lam Trinh and the Rest of the World Team is lead by Darren Gehrke. Both are South Brisbane Representative players – again demonstrating the size, strength and dominance of this TRL Region – and both have played for the Pink Ninjas Juggernaut over the last 4 years.

However, both players have not risen to this position without hard work and adaptability. When the Ninjas first started out, they were not the powerhouse they are today. They played a very predictable “ruck heavy” game. They would regularly trounce weak teams but when they played the elite, they would find their game – which was built on speed and fitness was not enough. Rather than accept this fact, both Lam and Darren started working tirelessly on their game and together crafted moves which other teams now try to emulate. Together with Eddie Tran, Brandon Le and the lumberjack himself, Liam Moore, they started getting down to TRL about an hour before every game. Not just every “other” game, but every game. They became obsessed and the results started to come. They started to beat teams like the Balmain Tigers – and easily. They then began to really dominate Champions’ League events and indeed, Representative TRL.

On Saturday morning when Lam and Darren stand out in front of a huge crowd at Dolphin Stadium, it will be reflective of hard work, diligence and a passion for TRL that is hard to match.

Lam‘s passion clearly goes beyond just the game of TRL though.

“It’s an absolute honour and a privilege to represent the Vietnamese TRL community in this year’s inaugural international competition. We hope to make our people proud and inspire them to compete at the highest levels in TRL. We also want to show that all those years of eating Pho and Vietnamese Pork Rolls have really paid off! Best of luck to all the teams over the weekend, especially Rest of the World!” – Lam Trinh – Vietnam Captain.

…and in terms of Darren, he will be looking to spring an upset and get one over both Lam and a number of his other mates.

“On paper Vietnam are the team to beat and it will be a special moment for me leading some of the best players from around the world and showcasing the talent we have to offer”

Today, Lam Trinh and Darren Gehrke are names synonymous with elite TRL. They deserve every accolade. As the great Fatty Vautin would say, they are “two of the greats”.

Tom Longworth