Warwick Redbacks ruckman Alex Cutmore (leaping on right) and an Ipswich Eagles ruckman in last year's cup.
Warwick Redbacks ruckman Alex Cutmore (leaping on right) and an Ipswich Eagles ruckman in last year's cup. Gerard Walsh

Aussie rules teams head west to herald start of the season

AUSSIE RULES: Warwick will be at half to three-quarter strength for the Cardinal Cup at Goondiwindi on Saturday.

Three clubs - Goondiwindi Hawks, Jimboomba Redbacks and Warwick - will play in a competition, named after cup founder Colin "Cardinal” Pope, who is involved in organising each year's pre-season competition.

With three teams, each team will have two round-robin games and then the top two teams will play in the grand final late Saturday.

If each of the three teams wins one game, the grand finalists will be determined on for and against.

Warwick coach Ben Heppell said he expected Goondiwindi to be the toughest on their home ground.

"But we do have a pretty good record at Goondiwindi,” he said.

Primary school teacher Steve Grogan has moved from Gladstone and is one of two new players in the Redbacks squad.

"Steve will play on the halfback flank or the midfield and looks good in training,” he said.

Nathan Cooney has joined the Redbacks from another footy code and will play in the backline at the start of his Aussie rules career.

"Nathan is pretty fit and has a fair bit of speed,” Heppell said.

Josh Read and Tony Chander are both back with the Redbacks after not playing last season with Chandler to line up on Saturday.

"We are going to try a few different things with positional play on Saturday but will still be aiming to win,” he said.

"I need to find the best positions for our players before the first competition game.”

With Ben Heppell a player coach, the sideline work on match day will be shared with Jason Wright and Keith Clarke.

"Andrew Bardsley will be our captain again,” Heppell said. "He is a true leader who leads by example.”

The Warwick fixture season starts on March 30 against University at Warwick Credit Union Oval.