Panthers on the hunt

TAKE THE FIELD: Aussie rules is making a splash in the Central Highlands.
TAKE THE FIELD: Aussie rules is making a splash in the Central Highlands.

FOOTBALLERS from the Central Highlands are creating quite a stir at the Rockhampton Panthers club, and for all the right reasons.

In a region so often dominated by rugby league, a handful of players born and bred in the Australian rules code are strapping on the studs for a crack at the Rockhampton competition.

Interest has been so encouraging the Panthers club will stage an inter-club match in Blackwater this Saturday as part of its lead-up to the 2011 season.

“I was quite surprised actually,” Panthers vice president Rob Taylor said of the curiosity shown by Highlands players.

“We’ve got a group of about 10 players including four from Blackwater and that’s without anyone who just turns up.”

He said many of the club’s latest Central Highlands’ recruits got in touch via the Panthers’ website and went from there.

The trial game will give prospective players an opportunity to test the waters in the Capricornia competition extending out to Gladstone, Boyne Island and Yeppoon.

“It’s a good chance for them to visit, have a chat, play footy and find out exactly what we’ve got to offer,” Taylor said.

If the interest is there, it is suggested local players could train in Blackwater or at neighbouring venues and travel to Rockhampton for games.

Given every opportunity to prosper, Taylor hopes the Central Highlands might some day return to the competition with the vigour of yesteryear.

“I can remember playing against Blackwater sides back in the middle 1980s... it might have even been a semi or grand final,” he said.

“I know they were very competitive.”

This Saturday’s trial starts 10.30am at Blackwater State High School.

For details contact Rob on 0401 896 393.

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