‘We have to get better’: Gorman’s Gallopers not resting on laurels as QLD Premier Rugby title defence kicks off
By Matt Findlay
There’s time-honoured and somewhat tacky tropes abounds even in the best of rugby writing but in terms of the 2019 Queensland Premier Rugby season there is one GPS skipper Dan Gorman knows rings true for his champion side – titles are tough to win, but they’re even tougher to defend.
“We made it pretty clear early on (in the pre-season) that if we perform how we did last year it won’t be good enough,” Gorman fired. Jeeps’ 2018 title was their first since 1996.
“We didn’t get the chance to have much of a hangover from the premiership, we’ve got new coaches and they’ve really challenged the players.
“We’re working hard, we have to get better.”
The Gallopers had the week off in round one following their gutsy, breakthrough, come-from-behind victory over Shute Shield premiers Sydney University in the Australian Club Championship, and will kick-off their title defence against Easts on Saturday.
Naturally Gorman and his troops are champing at the bit, the inspirational skipper also saying Easts’ first-up loss last weekend isn’t a credible gauge of their round two rivals.
In fact, he said, that 38-12 defeat will likely give the Tigers more motivation to knock off the reigning champions.
“We’re all pretty excited and we don’t read into Easts’ loss too much, or at all really, ” Gorman said.
“They played University of Queensland who have probably been the best side for the last four years and even though they have high turnover they’re always one of the top sides, so it was a tough start.
“Personally, for me, being a little bit older I usually prefer to have a bye a little bit later on so I wouldn’t say it’s a positive but it’s something we’re used to.
“The way we’re set up at Jeeps we share our field with cricket so we usually start the year with a bye or a string of away games.”
Saturday’s clash with Easts, at Bottomley Park, will also be the Gallopers’ faithful’s first look at boom recruit DP de Lange in the competition-proper, after a strong first outing in that victory over Sydney University.
There has been some suggestion the five-eighth might take some time to slide into GPS’ structures efficiently, with many assuming he adopts the style of play typical of South African pivots.
Not so, Gorman says, who’s predicting a big year from the stand-off head coach Elwee Prinsloo plucked from a South Australian potato farm.
“He actually plays reasonably flat at the line and so he’s probably not your traditional South African five-eighth that sits in the pocket, he loves a run,” Gorman explained.
“That’ll suit us and he’s got a really boot too which suits us too, so he’ll obviously be looking to really soak up the benefits playing behind our forward pack which we pride ourselves on.”
Gorman, a veteran of more than 200 games for Jeeps, said he’s also gunning to have a big year in 2019 after missing a huge hunk of last season through injury, although he did return in time to be a part of the grand final win.
“I missed most of last year … had surgery round one and missed 16 weeks. Last season was awesome to be a part of and I was lucky to get back (before the grand final) but I’m looking to have a big year this year and it’s an honour to captain Jeeps,” Gorman said.
Saturday’s second round clash kicks off at 3:20pm.