By Matthew Pearce
The Rockhampton Wolverines gridiron squad have high hopes as they stare down the tail end of an exciting season that started on October 30.
After defeating the Mavericks in Mackay in December, the Wolverines were due to return from their Christmas break on Saturday, 8 January with a match against the Townsville Cyclones at Mackay’s Leprechaun Park.
With that event falling victim to the pandemic, the first match of the year will instead be this weekend against the Port City Pirates.
Wolverines president Raymond Wheeler said the squad, inspired by the X-Men character made famous by Hugh Jackman, were having a good season so far, sitting second on the table behind Townsville.
There are four teams competing in the North Queensland Gridiron league, the Rockhampton Wolverines, Gladstone’s Port City Pirates, the Mackay Mavericks and the Townsville Cyclones.
Wheeler said the players to watch in this weekend’s game would be Robbie Chelepy and Jamie Simpson, who’s coming out retirement.
“It’s always a good game against Gladstone. We’ve known the lads since they started in the league two seasons ago and helped them get up and running,” he said.
“It’s been fun looking at them from that first game to this game and seeing how much they’ve grown.”
Wheeler said American football had been gaining in popularity in Queensland in recent years.
“Access to NFL games on television has seen it become more popular, but we need to transfer that interest into actually coming down and playing and that’s what we’re working on at the moment.”
Wheeler said he first become interested in gridiron in 2015 when he lived on the Gold Coast.
“I saw a poster and thought I’d try it out and and haven’t looked back since,” he said.
The Rockhampton Wolverines will face the Port City Pirates at 6pm, Saturday, 15 January, at the Rockhampton High School football field.