Home side hungry for success
Queensland’s men are chasing their fifth title triumph at the Senior State Sides, but two-time winner Nigel Smith predicts a tough ride ahead for the hometown heroes. It’s been three long years since Queensland’s men last lifted the Australian Senior Sides trophy, and the men in Maroon are getting restless.
Still the most decorated team in the championships, with four titles to their name, Queensland’s time at the top could come to an end if New South Wales get up at 2014 Australian Senior Sides, kicking off at Tweed Heads Bowls Club this morning.
“Senior State Sides is a highly competitive event and the other states are very strong,” Qld stalwart Nigel Smith said.
“In 2011 we were the champions at Warilla, but New South Wales have won it twice since then, so they’re the early favourites.”
With three titles wins to date, the Blues are hot on Queensland’s heels on the championship leader-board, but they aren’t the only threat on the horizon, with Victoria and Western Australia also top contenders according to Queensland state coach Bill Cornehls.
Smith, meanwhile, is hoping the home advantage will benefit his side.
“We have an advantage not only that we’re in Queensland, playing at Tweed Heads, but we have the opportunity to be playing at competition standard right up until the start of the event,” he said.
But Tweed Heads has proved unhappy hunting ground for Queensland teams in the past.
The last time Tweed hosted the over-60s titles NSW were victorious, with Queensland finishing fourth.
However, with the addition two new faces in the men’s side (Alan Elliot and Mick Tobin), Smith is quietly confident about Queensland chances, and has commended the skill of the selectors in choosing quality side.
“There aren’t many 60-and-over events, so it makes it very difficult for the selectors, but they have done a fantastic job of picking a very competitive field from right across Queensland,” Smith said.
The current team have history together, with most players part of the 2011 winning side.
“It’s a wonderful event and the strength of our squad is that we all get on well, we’ve all played together before and we have great team camaraderie. They’re all quality players,” said Smith.
“For me, there’s nothing better than winning a team event, you’re in that encouraging team environment and you want to win not just for yourself, but for your mates as well.”
The Queensland ladies are yet to win a Senior State Sides title, although they came close at the inaugural women’s event in 2011, losing out to WA by one rink-win.
Player Sue McKenzie is looking forward with hope, as six new faces join the ranks in 2014.
“There are many new faces selected so we can’t be too sure how we’ll go, but we’ll give it a good shot,” McKenzie said.
With three State Side debutantes on her own team, McKenzie hopes new blood will fire up their chances of a success this year.
“I hope we’ll go extremely well, we’re a fairly strong side, with the new faces you can never be sure, but we’re all really looking forward to it,” McKenzie said.
As in the men’s comp, NSW and Victoria will be the biggest threats to a Queensland win.
The 2014 Australian Senior Sides runs over four days (Oct 7-10) at Tweed Heads Bowls Club. Click here to view the event guide online.