So, another season starts this week, and the last trial matches were held last weekend.
The problem for us prophesysers is the paucity of information being disseminated by the clubs, the club faithful, and the big mouths.
A huge problem this year will be lack of numbers. I doubt there will be fourth grade competition, or at least one that will last the distance, and this is borne out, in my view, by the fact that as at last weekend no fixtures had come out for that grade.
Palmyra played two halves of first and second grade rugby against Associates on Saturday. Palmyra had about fifty hopefuls available, Soaks probably had 20 to cover both grades. Not saying they weren't quality players, the Soaks boys were, and they beat Pally in the first forty minutes four tries to one, and losing the second half one try to three, but it was hard to assess how good they really were, with Pally continually changing players and putting on fresh ones, and Soaks being basically restricted to those on the field. I can report though that Soaks have a very good fullback.
One last thing about Soaks, the twenty they had on Saturday were not the same twenty they played against Perth the weekend before. Against Pally they fielded a top side, the weekend before they fielded a bunch of willing social members.
The word I am hearing is that University is in a world of pain, Kalamunda are struggling, Perth shouldn't get too chuffed after their routing of Associates, as their standard wasn't impressive despite their win, that Wests will be nowhere near the power they were last season, that Wanneroo have indeed bought up big, that Joondalup have a bunch of UK imports, quality unknown, and that Nedlands and Cottesloe have had a mighty boost (again) from the Force, and will be the teams to beat.
I could be dead wrong of course. Like I said, the cards are being played close to the chest by all clubs, so if anyone has information in support or to the contrary, please post it here.
My informants are generally in the know though, and they report that a couple of clubs will be lucky to finish the season in the top grade, and a few more won't have the numbers for the other grades
A chance for a resurgent Rockingham/Mandurah or an ever hopeful Southern Lions? Or will next year see an eight team senior competition?