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TUESDAY 10 October 2000
Andy Bichel looks at what's in store for the Bulls in 2000-01

Hi it's Andy Bichel from the XXXX Queensland Bulls and I'm looking forward to another summer of cricket. I'll be enlightening you on what is happening in the Bulls pen throughout the season.

As for the off season, it has been a good one for us Queenslanders. I enjoyed watching the Brisbane Broncos - they play an excellent style of football and went on to win the NRL Final. We were very disappointing in the State of Origin games; NSW were just too strong and skilled. The Brisbane Lions had an excellent season, really starting to get things together towards the end. Maybe if they had played a little more consistently in the middle of the year, things would have been better for them. The Lions create quite a spectacle playing under lights with a packed house for just about every home game. Hopefully, the Bulls can attract some of those supporters back to the 'Gabba for our games this summer. Especially the four Friday day-night matches.

© AllSport & ACB
Scott O'Leary shows plenty of potential
© AllSport & ACB
The Bulls squad is twenty-one strong in number this season - our largest squad for some time now. New additions include Clinton Perren, although it should be said that he did actually play a number of games last season for us. Scott O'Leary, an off spinner from Wynnum, is another newcomer and one who possesses plenty of potential. We had eight of the squad playing in England this year and, from all reports, things went well for the lads. Matthew Hayden and Stuart Law scored well in excess of one thousand runs again for their county sides. Clinton Perren himself continued on with his good form for Littleborough in the Central Lancashire League. Adam Dale had an excellent season for Bacup in the Lancashire League, his effort in capturing 109 wickets at a quite unbelievable average helping his team win a title for the first time. Geoff Foley had another stint overseas and has now enjoyed ten straight seasons on foreign soil - something which has been great both for his cricket and his work. An outstanding guy, Geoff will no doubt be looking forward to another fine season with the Bulls. Martin Love also had some time in England (around Surrey) and scored plenty of runs but returned home early to get an injured ankle right for the start of the Queensland season. Martin has already played a number of pre-season games and everything looks pretty good for him; a fact underlined when he scored a century on the first weekend of Brisbane grade cricket for the summer. He is also looking forward to another season after finishing so well with a hundred in the Pura Milk Cup Final against Victoria last time. Ashley Noffke also had a season abroad but it was a little frustrating for him as a lot of his games were rained off due to bad weather. He is a player of the future and one who adds to the excellent bowling depth that we have in Queensland at the moment.

On the injured list at present is the Australian fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz - who is coming back from a shoulder reconstruction. Everything has been progressing well for him and hopefully he will be back before Christmas.

For the players that stayed at home, training has been conducted every Thursday evening - mainly centring around touch football and three gym sessions per week. The season really did start early for us this year as we played some trial games against Australia and New Zealand in early August. We faired pretty well considering we were exposing some of our younger players to cricket of this standard. I think they gained a lot from these games. We were playing against the likes of Glenn McGrath, Steve Waugh and Chris Cairns - some of the best players in the world - and I think our young guys enjoyed the challenge.

Having had everybody come together at home last week, the squad got together and planned out our 2000-01 season. For three days, we had meeting upon meeting preparing our campaign for the coming year. Taking the good things that we did last year and plotting for a big season ahead. We spent one afternoon at the Enoggera Army Barracks being pushed mentally and physically by the lieutenants on their obstacle course ... climbing, jumping, running and using our skills as a team. Hard work, but a fun afternoon and certainly something out of our ordinary training schedule. We had presentations from the Australian Sports Drugs Agency (ASDA) - Drugs in Sport, Racial Vilification, Media Relations, Sponsor Commitments, Bat Signings and our normal training sessions ... a busy three days but an excellent camp to start the season.

No doubt we are going to see some big improvers during this summer. New South Wales will be better off after having had another year of experience and also added a new coach - Steve Rixon, who'll be keen to turn things around. WA have got a good squad of players and will be tough opposition again this season, especially given the return of Tom Moody and also Murray Goodwin from the Zimbabwe team. South Australia will also be up there in the reckoning again with players like Darren Lehmann, Greg Blewett and many of the younger players having taken excellent experience away from last season. Tassie also shape as a team to watch: they have always had a very strong batting team and their bowling has been strengthened with the move south of David Saker. Last year's Pura Cup finalists, Victoria, will also feature strongly after making some excellent progress over the last several years as a team and Paul Reiffel's captaincy is sure to keep things motoring along.

Until next time, happy cricketing!

Andy Bichel