RUGBY LEAGUE: It will be a massive day for the Gladstone Valleys Diehards Rugby League Club on Saturday with the annual Brisbane Valleys v Gladstone Valleys v Gladstone Wallabys Challenge Cup event on Saturday.
The day will start from 8am with the under-6s between the Diehards and Wallabys' teams and continue throughout the day and into the early evening.
The main match is from 5pm between the visiting Brisbane Valleys and Gladstone Valleys' A-grade teams in an event that will be in its eighth year.
Diehards' captain Chris Riley cannot wait to go into battle for the first hit-out of the season and said his team will draw confidence from the corresponding trial last year when the Gladstone version of the Valleys won 28-26 in Brisbane.
"I think that they were a bit surprised and we came down with a bit of fire-power, but I don't think they'll be making the same mistake coming up here," he said.
Riley said pre-season has been solid and is confident the players will be up to the task on Saturday.
"We have got a couple new additions and a couple who have left, but nothing too major really and we have the same sort of key structure and everything," he said.
The skipper enters his 12th season at the club and described himself as a versatile player in a team that is close-knit.
Brisbane Valleys Diehards' coach Don Gailer took his team to the Brisbane Rugby League premiership last year and is keen to see where it is at.
He will bring a squad of 24 players which will include Callum and Rowen Klein who have had vast Q-Cup experience with Sunshine Coast.
"We have 10 to 12 new guys who have not yet been seen in match situations so far," Gailer said.
The Brisbane mentor coached Brothers and Logan in the Q-Cup as well as Whitehaven in England.
He is keen to push the Valleys name in Queensland moving forward.
"We play Toowoomba Valleys on March 3 and we are trying to get the Valleys name more prominent," Gailer said.
"It's incentive for the three clubs."
Both Gladstone Valleys Diehards and Gladstone Wallabys' Ashley Roberts and Andy Lockwood said the reserves match will be hard-hitting.
Points are accumulated from results across grades from under-9s through to reserves.
The game will start at 2.20pm and Roberts said the rivalry stems from a long way back.
"This is a good game every year and Wallabys are probably more of the harder clubs to play," captain Roberts said.
"I don't know what it is, but it's just that we love beating Wallabys and they're probably one of the closest clubs we're to.
"Ever since juniors, they are always hard to play against and we're definitely got something to prove out there and we're not there to peel oranges."
Lockwood joined in the pre-match banter and while he won't play, he jokingly said Wallabys have worked out Valleys' tactics.
"We'll definitely will target Ashley here," he said with a laugh.
It will be a battle in the trenches in the juniors as well with a total of 14 games to be played from U6 to U17s.
"Vals and Wallabys is always good to kick off the season, but will be a little bit hot during the day and looking forward to pull the jersey back on," Valleys' U17 player Jake Marker said.
His opposite number Chase Gourley echoed his testaments about what the game means to both clubs.
Valleys' U6 player Blayke Lewis and Darcy Walker, of Wallabys, look forward to 'run and tackle' during the first two matches which start at 8am.
Valleys' junior president Steve Marker said it's a great concept which should be embraced.
"It's very important and it gives the opportunity for both our clubs to raise a bit of funds for the start of the season," he said.
"It's got a lot of culture behind it and both clubs have got a lot of respect for each other."
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