QLD GPS: Brisbane State High 2019 GPS Season Preview
After an up and down season in 2018, Brisbane State High boast an experienced squad in 2019, with nine players with first XV experience set to start in round one this weekend.
Coach Pat Byron said he’s expecting one of the tightest GPS seasons we’ve seen but seems confident his side is good enough to be in the mix late in the season.
Overview with Pat Byron:
“We’ve had a pretty disrupted preseason to be honest. We’ve had a number of players injured and also unavailable fro a variety of reasons but we’ve just about got everyone back on deck ahead of round one on Saturday,” Byron said.
“We also had a really good three week training window over the holiday period so although it’s been disrupted, I think we’re ready to go.
“The positive of that is that we got to have a look at a number of players that may not have got an opportunity if we had everyone on deck and a few of those boys have really stood up and they’ll get a chance this weekend in round one.
“We finished last year really well but I think there were a couple of games that we let slip earlier in the season that cost us.
“Nudgee and Southport were clearly the two best teams last year and the rest of us were playing for third and we probably dropped a few games that we shouldn’t have.
“In saying that we finished the year really well, so there were a lot of positives to take from it.”
“We’ve got quite a few boys returning. This is probably the oldest State High side we’ve had for three or four years. Last year half the team was in Year 11, so they’ve all had a year of first XV already.
“This weekend we’ve got nine players starting with first XV experience so that gives us a lot of confidence.
“We want to play physical, attacking rugby like usual but probably be a little smarter at times than we have been in the past.”
Key areas of improvement:
“Game management is the big one for us. We’ve always got some strong ball carriers and talented rugby players but the big focus for us is our game play and management.
“We’ve also struggled at line out time over the past few seasons and I think we’ll improve in that area this year. Our scrum is traditionally good but we’ve got the quality in the line out this year as well.”
Hopes and expectations for the season:
“I think everyone goes into the season wanting to win it and finish in the top three and we’re no different.
“There’s some great sides this year – Nudgee, Southport and BBC will all be really strong, but we’re confident if we play our best rugby, we’ll be able to match it with anyone.”
Bold prediction for 2019:
“I think the season will be decided in the last round. I’d suggest that those teams that I mentioned before will be right in the mix and although Southport play Nudgee in the first round, I think the premiership will go down to the final Saturday.”