READY TO ROAR: The Biloela Panthers run fitness drills during Tuesday night's training session.
READY TO ROAR: The Biloela Panthers run fitness drills during Tuesday night's training session. Andrew Thorpe

Panthers kick off training schedule

RUGBY LEAGUE: Preparations for the Biloela Panthers' 2017 season have kicked off, with the team undergoing their third training session on Tuesday afternoon.

A Grade captain-coach Ryan Wilson, who has signed on with the club for another year, said fitness was a priority given "pretty much the whole squad" from last season was returning.

"We've got a base now so we can build on that," he said.

The season is shaping up to be a big one for Biloela, with the club marking 20 years since its founding with a special home game on May 7, as well as a coaching shake-up for the lower grades.

Club president Pat Barron will join Warren Jordan to coach the reserve grade, while Gus David and Gavin Hann will take on the U20s.

The Rockhampton A Grade competition will also expand to 10 sides, with Woorabinda entering teams in all three grades.

The reserve grade competition will expand to 12 after Biloela voted with other clubs to let the Calliope Roosters and Gladstone Wallabies enter at the reserve level.

"They've got to build on that, they can't just stay reserve grade," Barron said.

"We need a strong local competition."

The Panthers will take a break over Christmas before returning to training in the second week of January, in preparation for the nine-a-side competition on February 11 and the regular season start on March 18.