Former Wallaby Glenn Panoho, the coach of the Sunshine Coast Stingrays, rallies his troops during half-time of a Premier League rugby union clash. Panoho and his team will be in action here next month.
Former Wallaby Glenn Panoho, the coach of the Sunshine Coast Stingrays, rallies his troops during half-time of a Premier League rugby union clash. Panoho and his team will be in action here next month.

Stingrays shape up

IT’S THE game they say is played in heaven so that means plenty of Fraser Coast rugby union fans will be in absolute heaven next month.

They will have a smorgasbord of games to tackle watching on February 20 at Urangan’s Walkers Road Sports Complex, the home of the Fraser Coast Mariners.

The mouth-watering menu features the opening Queensland Rugby Union Country Championship showdown of the year between the Sunshine Coast Stingrays and the Darling Downs.

The Stingrays play in the Premier League in Brisbane and are coached by former Wallaby prop Glenn Panoho.

In the lead-up to the main clash, the Fraser Coast Mariners will go head-to-head against a combined Bundaberg line-up before the colts from the Sunshine Coast Stingrays and the Darling Downs collide.

One man who is licking his lips at the thought of watching all the action is Hervey Bay’s Andrew Beattie, the Queensland Rugby Union Wide Bay development officer.

He said it was a huge coup for the opening game of the annual championship to be played in Hervey Bay.

“All the clubs in the Sunshine Coast Rugby Union competition were given the chance to host it but we got the green light which is just fantastic news,” Beattie said.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity for fans here to see some high quality rugby union in their own backyard so to speak – it doesn’t get any better than that.”

The Stingrays have been back in pre-season training for two weeks following the festive break and Panoho said he was impressed by the enthusiasm of the squad, a squad that includes Andrew Beattie’s son Tom, a flanker who played for the Fraser Coast Mariners before joining the Stingrays.

“There will certainly be some real competition for places to play in Hervey Bay,” Panoho, who earned 21 caps as a Wallaby between 1998 and 2003, said.

“The first game of the season is a huge one in anyone’s books and everyone wants to play in it.

“We are all looking forward to showcasing our team and our ability in Hervey Bay and we hope we get plenty of support.”

GAME ON

Game one – The Fraser Coast Mariners v Bundaberg

Game two – The Sunshine Coast Stingrays colts v Darling Downs colts

Game three – The Sunshine Coast Stingrays v Darling Downs



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