Toowoomba Bears and USQ lock line-out horns in their round-11 Risdon Cup match last season at USQ Oval. The traditional rivals meet today at Heritage Oval.
Toowoomba Bears and USQ lock line-out horns in their round-11 Risdon Cup match last season at USQ Oval. The traditional rivals meet today at Heritage Oval. Kevin Farmer

Bears, Uni in early season test of mettle

TOOWOOMBA Bears will have their rebuilding phase put to its next test when they host traditional rivals USQ in a round-four Wagners Risdon Cup clash at Heritage Oval tomorrow.

The youthful Bears have recorded early season wins over UQ Gatton and Highfields while USQ is coming off a round-three bye after its opening season win over Roma.

Bears' co-coach Bryan Battersby is expecting a fast, open match tomorrow against the Gary Briscoe-coached Saints in what shapes as an early-season test of both team's progress.

"We have a very young team - even younger than last year with five 18-year-olds straight from school in the side,” Battersby said.

"The Dalby match in round one was a culture shock for us, but everyone seems to be getting along and we're standing up so far.

"Declan Wheeler and Nick Hewitt are our co-captains this year and help provide the limited experience we have.

"If we can get our full squad together through the season, I think we might push a few teams.

"We didn't train well this week which doesn't overly concern me.

"Some times you can train poorly and then produce on game day, but Declan hasn't been well this week and it's touch and go whether he'll be playing.

"But we're looking forward to the match and it could come to the bounce of the ball.

"We always have a good game against Uni.

"They are always fairly well coached and are quick around the park.

"I think they'll try to run us around tomorrow (Saturday).

"But they have skills we don't and we have skills they don't.

"It will be an interesting game and I hope we're up to it.

"A lot will depend on how our young blokes handle it.”

# IN OTHER matches tomorrow Toowoomba Rangers host Condamine in an early competition battle for a top-three ladder spot.

UQ Gatton is at home to Goondiwindi and defending premiers and ladder leaders Dalby travel to Roma.

RISDON CUP

After Three Rounds

Dalby 15

Goondiwindi 10

Toowoomba Rangers 10

Condamine 10

Toowoomba Bears 9

USQ* 5

Roma 0

UQ Gatton* 0

Highfields 0

  • Denotes 1st round bye


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