Danes will be a dogged test
RUGBY LEAGUE: Stanthorpe Gremlins head to Pittsworth on Sunday, resuming their 2018 campaign in the Toowoomba Rugby League Clive Berghofer Second Division competition.
Coach Gary Skimmings said his side's encounter with the Pittsworth Danes would be new territory for his Gremlins.
"We are strangers to Pittsworth as far as football goes,” he admitted.
The Danes will provide some tough opposition on their home turf. While they sit in third place on the premiership ladder, a rung above the Gremlins, Pittsworth are undefeated after three matches.
Despite the winter chill at Sullivan Oval, Skimmings said he was pleased with his players' attitude at training this week.
"It was cold and wet but we had plenty of numbers.
"The Tuesday session included a coaching clinic focusing on the backs by former NRL player Paul Carige.”
Having played more than 60 games for Illawarra and Parramatta from 1996-98, Carige's input to local junior development and the preparation of the Gremlins' senior team was invaluable.
"Paul is keen to be involved as much as he can and is considering donning the Stanthorpe colours this season,” said Skimmings.
"His experience is a great asset to our club.”
The Gremlins suffered a few unwelcome injuries after their last outing, an 8-10 loss to Dalby on April 22.
Regular hooker Michael Marini is still dealing with a rib injury, while a hamstring issue will sideline talented back Jason Cobon.
Skimmings is considering his options in his younger brigade and will elevate Hamish Cole to fill Marini's important hooker role.
Halfback Regan Sullivan has impressed in the season so far, the 18-year-old excelling in his second season of senior footy.
"Regan's on the small side but can boast plenty of ability and commitment,” Skimmings said.
Another addition to the line-up to meet Pittsworth is Michael Sullivan.
Considered somewhat of a 'cult hero' around the Gremlins neighbourhood, at about 203cm and 160kg, Sullivan is sure to make an impact off the bench.
"It's an important game for us,” said Skimmings.
"It's going to be tough against quality opposition, but we are sticking to the game plan and keeping it simple.”
The coach is pleased with his side's progress in their new venture in the TRL.
"The travel to venues and early start times are two differences, but we have two wins from four games, the two losses very close, so it's all coming together.”
The Stanthorpe Gremlins will run on at 10.10am on Sunday at Pittsworth.