Well when it comes to Mens Representative TRL it is hard to go past Beenleigh. They have been dominant for years and have a core nucleus of players that know how to get the job done. Headed up by Reece Janson and Khanui Cox, the team is flush with talent, experience and game-breaking ability. However, this year they will face their stiffest challenge yet in the form of Logan. Logan will be captained by Michael Rasmussen and will include big names such as Cody Green and Ryan Endehipa.
Michael Rasmussen normally shuns the limelight. Instead he lets his footy do the talking. There won’t be any flash celebrations or backflips on the weekend; you will look up on Sunday and there he will be – on centre stage leading the troops. Look out as well for Cody Green. Does not mind throwing a 30m cut out pass when he is bored.
Whilst it is hard to see these teams not making the top 4 they will be pushed at the back end of the tournament by West Brisbane, South Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. West Brisbane in particular has been training for months and they are a champion team. They have a few stars but there is arguably no other unit that gel as well together, as the Taipans. Their spiritual leader – Dave Nguyen – knows how to get the best out of them. He is the Wayne Bennett of TRL.
These are the five teams to beat in Mens. I am predicting Logan to take the flag.
The Sunshine Coast will be looking to defend their 2016 triumph and it is hard to see them not making the top 4. However, whilst they may be bigger and better in 2017 so are the rest of the field.
East Brisbane on paper looks very strong. The likes of Kurki, Harley, Browne, Otto and Copnell (the big 5 from the East) are an absolute threat from anywhere on the park. These guys play together week in week out and will be primed for the weekend. They are prone to sometimes self-destruct but if Copnell can keep them relaxed and focused, they will be hard to beat.
The other teams which I believe will seriously challenge for the title are Ipswich, Rockhampton, Cronulla, Logan and South Brisbane. Ipswich and Rockhampton were Grand Final combatants earlier in the year at QLD State Championships and demonstrated just how much depth these two regions have. As for Cronulla, they will be keen to make the most of the trip North and are not out there to make friends – they are there to win. You can expect them to be very dominant across the weekend.
In terms of South Brisbane, they are a Representative powerhouse with 5 teams in the Australian Championships this year. They have two very strong Mixed teams which could both arguably finish top 8.
And Logan…..well, just don’t be surprised if you see Logan take the double (Mens and Mixed). I won’t say much more but if they play to their potential, this is a distinct possibility.
However, for me, I believe the East Brisbane juggernaut will get the job done this year. The heartbreak of 2016’s loss and development of both Kurki and Harley into some of the best female players going around, gives this team an edge in 2017.
The fact we are able to launch this competition in 2017 at the Australian Championships is a landmark moment for the Sport. It is great to see the game growing and I am personally most excited to see how this Division pans out.
The 8 teams that will compete are all strong on paper. All pose a threat in attack and all contain plenty of experience will help in the back end of the tournament.
If I had to go out on a limb, I would suggest that the North Brisbane Women’s side should go in favourites but they will have some stiff competition from Rockhampton and South Brisbane. South Brisbane in particular are led by Jillaroo – Amelia Kukk. Amelia is a deadset weapon – can score from anywhere on the park and will be a dominant figure across the weekend. Rockhampton – they just chip away and are always hard to beat. I think it is something in the water up there but I have never seen a Rockhampton side not feature in finals footy at a TRL Rep carnival.