Raiders blow off cobwebs in pre-season carnival
RUGBY union kicked off for 2013 on Saturday when the East Coast Diesel Whitsunday Raiders hosted a pre-season carnival and sign-on at the Whitsunday Sports Park.
Visiting teams the Bowen Mudcrabs, Kuttabul Camelboks, Mackay City Redskins joined the Raiders for the carnival which saw each team play 20 minute quarters against their opposition.
A final took place between Bowen and Kuttabul which Bowen won in a thriller and the Raiders and Redskins took to a kicking dual eventually won by the Raiders.
There was a good mix of young and experienced players from 19-year-old Ron Renata, 350 game Raiders veteran Bill Pratt and the experienced Martin Jones.
To date over 35 have participated in training or games and over 28 players have registered with the Raiders club that will field a reserve grade team in the Mackay competition for the first time in over a decade.
Two new young players from England Jacob Knight and Jamie Wykes-Hobday joined fellow international players Ron Croker (Ireland), Phil Stickler (Wales) and Martin Roveda (Argentina) and gave the side a very multi-cultural feel.
They mix of local Proserpine and Whitsunday coast boys such as Jake Kercher, Scott Vella, Ian Dachs and Tom Dray and newcomers Alex Maddock and Dean Amos joined to form a very strong squad.
With a win, loss and a draw Raiders coach Hemi Taukiri was satisfied the day was an ideal to start hardening up to the match fitness required for the long season ahead.
The only dampener came with a serious achilles tear to newcomer Martin Pearse who may miss the rest of the season and will be sorely missed.
It was a great to see so many players from the local club like Shannon Wolland (captain), Tosh Pidgeon, Kon Flaherty, Luke Griffiths, Matt Sammut, Hank Verwoerdt helping out to help make the day a big success.
The club also wished to thank all the wives and girlfriends who assisted in the canteen and the car wash.