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11 March, 2022

Barrett Shield Countdown

Local rugby league will certainly be the winner when the oval ball action kicks off on Saturday at Platz Oval ushering in the 2022 and 103rd Toowoomba Rugby League season with the 30th contest for the famed Barrett Family Field trials.

As has been the case since 1993 the Wattles Warriors will battle out the A Grade clash against league neighbours the Warwick Cowboys for the right to house the prestigious pre-season trophy for the coming year.

Any win’s a good win according to coach Travis Burns, especially against Warwick and in the season opener.

“They are always a tough unit to roll, our local derbies breed a fierce competitive atmosphere.” 

The Shield was last presented to joint Wattles skippers Dale Perkins and Ryan Duggan back in March 2019, the last green and gold success.

Warwick reaped the honours over the past two seasons, but Wattles co-captain & veteran Toowoomba Clydesdales representative Dale Perkins suggests the rot will stop on Saturday.

“We are fortunate to have kept a solid core of players the last few seasons” said Perkins, “But I’m looking forward to a run with the new boys as well, it’s always a good contest to get the year underway.”

Wattles 22 year old backline new face Austin Jennings is more than keen to front the Cowboys, “I’m super excited to play this weekend, I’ve heard big things about Barrett Shield. Can’t wait to be out in front of the home crowd for my first game and get the win.”

Jennings’ talented older brother Daniel, also a centre, ventured Wattles way in 2020. 

He impressed in the Barrett Shield that year before the season was COVID cancelled and this year will run on for Brothers.

Former Queensland under age representative & Brisbane Broncos National Youth Cup enforcer Brendon McBryde was among the Warriors outstanding player’s last season.

The big back-rower has shed a few kilos since the curtain fell last year and is keen to “dust the cob webs off and hopefully go all the way” for the silverware in 2022.

Coach Burns is focused on a winning result and is quietly confident, he has the line-up for success.

But diehard club supporters are also keen for the Warriors to even the keel of their 11 Shield wins to the Cowboys 18 with a solitary draw in 2000.

The Warwick Cowboys received a massive injection of confidence for the upcoming TRL season last year after a 34 – 22 main game win and an all trials clean sweep on the Shield program on their home turf at Father Ranger Oval.

According to Burns “the team have been training with plenty of enthusiasm with our new players cogging in ideally.”

 The Toowoomba Rugby League can boast no more fiercely contested encounter to crank up the 2022 season on the Southern Downs, and the Wattles hierarchy are expecting an overwhelming crowd.

Barrett Family Shield and Pre-Season Trials - Platz Oval, Clifton - Saturday 12th March 2022. Wattles Warriors v Warwick Cowboys: Under 19 - 4.00 pm, Reserve Grade - 5.30 pm, A Grade - 7.00 pm

Glyn Rees

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