TEAM EFFORT: Nathan walker and Ryan Harth of the Biloela Panthers working together to complete a tackle.
TEAM EFFORT: Nathan walker and Ryan Harth of the Biloela Panthers working together to complete a tackle. Contributed

Head down and hard work

HALFWAY into their season, the Biloela Panthers are content with where they sit in their competition and with their own development as a team.

After several years away from the game, Panthers A Grade coach Graham Middlebrook, said that his side identified early on in the year that improvement was needed.

"I think we're travelling okay, for where we are,” Mr Middlebrook said.

"After round 1, we were able to assess where we are as individuals and where we are as a team.

"We identified areas to improve on to be competitive with selective teams.”

In a competition where three teams from Rockhampton monopolise the top of the standings, the focus for Biloela is continuing to work hard at training to make up the difference.

"We got guys that are all starting to do their job reasonably well,” Mr Middlebrook said.

"Some skill-sets are down on some individuals, but those guys are busting their backsides off every week.

"What we're doing at training, they're definitely taking it out there.

"We're still a little way off the top three clubs in Rocky, but it's building nicely.”

The Panthers A Grade side are coming off two wins in a row against Woorabinda and Fitzroy- Gracemere, heading into this weekend's home clash with Yeppoon.

"They (Yeppoon) are streaks above everybody else in this competition at the moment,” Mr Middlebrook said.

"They're just a really well drilled football team, with a great set of skill across their 17 first graders.

"So the trick for us is to concentrate on what we've got control of.

"Complete our sets, provide shape and structure around the ball when we've got it and slowly build longer periods of pressure.

"If we can get out there and compete, and control what we can, it might put us in the contest at the back end of the game.”

With several teams, including Biloela, chasing a finals spot under the three Rockhampton teams, Middlebrook and the Panthers have a specific focus to challenge sides in a similar position.

"We've earmarked, Emu Park, Fitzroy and Woorabinda as sides that we need to practice our systems and get real competitive with,” Mr Middlebrook said.

"Whether it's going to give us the opportunity to play finals, we're going to have too wait and see towards the back end of they year.”

Always a challenge for the Panthers is being able to get enough players every week to fill out their U20s, Reserve Grade and A Grade squads.

"We're struggling for numbers,” Mr Middlebrook said.

"When we went up to play Fitzroy on the weekend, we had 15 fresh players for Reserve Grade and 13 fresh for A Grade.

"We had 20s step up for Reserve Grade and one for A Grade.

"Numbers can always be better.

"The sooner we can get to stage of playing 17 fresh A Graders and 19 fresh players for Reserve Grade and U20s, the club will be better for that.”

Kick-off between the Biloela Panthers A Graders and the Yeppoon Seagulls A Graders, is 7pm, June 15, from their home ground off Washpool Street, Biloela.