EARNING KUDOS: Hooker Matt Richards was Wattles best player in their recent clash with the Gatton Hawks.
EARNING KUDOS: Hooker Matt Richards was Wattles best player in their recent clash with the Gatton Hawks. contributed

Wattles told to step up for round 9 in Toowoomba

RUGBY LEAGUE: According to coach Travis Burns, his Wattles top-grade line-up is on notice that a win tomorrow is paramount against Brothers in the TRL round nine fixture at Glenholme Park.

A heavy injury cloud hovering over the co-leaders of the TRL Hutchies' Cup, on the back of a one sided loss to the Gatton Hawks in their last outing, has Burns wanting his players to step up against Brothers.

"We need a more concerted effort, along with consistency, and we want it across the 80 minutes,” he said.

Brothers may be low on the ladder but impressed when finishing ahead of co-ladder leaders Warwick two weeks back.

A particular challenge for Burns has been the disruption of his halves who can be considered among the best in the league.

Star halfback Matt Duggan has been an absentee in recent weeks with an ankle injury and will also miss the QRL State Open Championships this weekend where he was to appear in Central Crows colours.

While Burns faces the challenge of four key players being unable to take to the field tomorrow due to injury, co-captain Ryan Duggan returns from a bout of illness to lead the side with Dale Perkins.

A win over Brothers will further shore up the Warriors' claim on a Madsen-Rasmussen Trophy finals berth.

Burns and his line-up are keen to hoist the historic trophy in the Toowoomba Rugby League's 100th year after it slipped through their fingers in last year's mid-year final against Valleys.

"We have so much to play for on Sunday,” Burns said.

"But we need to steady the ship and return our course to that of earlier this year.”

Wattles did it tough in recent weeks to haul in vital wins over Dalby and Goondiwindi and, while they did get back in to the game against Gatton by half time, the Hawks lifted to another level in the second stanza and the Warriors weren't up to the chase.

A prestigious prize for the winner at Glenholme Park is the Dan Ryan Memorial Shield contested by A-grade Wattles and Brothers sides since 2005.

Ryan is a former stalwart of both clubs, an exceptional player and a true gentleman off the field but tough as nails on the playing paddock.

Ryan played for All Whites (now Brothers) from under-16s and U18s, playing A grade in 1961-1964. In 1965 he played for Eastern Suburbs Tigers in Brisbane and, at the end of this stint, returned to captain/coach Wattles.

He also represented the Toowoomba Clydesdales in the famous Bulimba Cup competition. In 1972 he returned to All Whites as captain/coach, continuing in season 1973.

In the 1972 grand final, Dan broke his ankle early but played on for the whole game.

Second division

The Stanthorpe Gremlins will join the Warriors on the road to Glenholme Park tomorrow, and after three consecutive losses, are desperate for a win over second-division ladder leaders Newtown.

Kick-off: 2nd division, Stanthorpe v Newtown - 10.10am; Wattles v Brothers: U18s - 11.30am, reserve grade - 1pm Agrade - 2.30 pm.