A TEAM of hard-hitting leaguies is shaping as favourite to collect the second Goulburn Rugby Sevens title when competition kicks-off next week.
This time, however, they don’t come in the form of the Goulburn Workers Bulldogs. Rather, they’ll be donning the Gordon Highlanders strip.
Michael Brown’s men have been touted favourites by sevens organiser Kevin Kara, who yesterday confirmed the second tournament of its kind in succession would commence next Friday and run through to March 15.
Others set to weigh into contention include Bubba’s Brumbies, an outfit filled with seasoned rugby players, Dirty Mike’s, a second union-centric team, the Taralga Tigers, the Dominic Falk-skippered Falky’s Force and a Boyd Newby led Waratahs lineup.
Last summer’s champions, the Bulldogs, have made the prudent decision to sit the 2013 edition out.
Key forwards Mick Dodson, Richie Mason and Marcus Wikaira each sustained injuries en route to their grand final victory.
The Bulldogs subsequently took six matches to notch a win in the Canberra Raiders Cup.
Early indicators pointed to another interesting tournament, and not just for the players, Kara says.
“Players really enjoyed the comp last year and people enjoyed watching it,” he said.
“It’s all go at the moment. Everyone’s looking forward to it.”
Not surprisingly, Kara labelled the Highlanders the team to beat. The sevens format, with open pastures, restricted scrums and altered line-outs, suits the league players to a tee.
“The team to beat, I’d say, is the Highlanders,” Kara said.
“Maybe the darkhorse could be the Waratahs.
They’ve got a few good young players.”
The tournament will be conducted in a round robin format. Each team will play six matches over three consecutive Fridays before finals are conducted on March 15.
As in 2012, players can expect two games per night. Matches will be 14 minutes in length with a two minute half-time spell.
Scrums will comprise three players from each side and lineouts will be conducted in a three man format.
Otherwise, it’s essentially a game of touch football on a full sized field with heavy-hitting and an unlimited tackle count.
Let the games begin.