STRONG PERFORMANCE: Toowoomba Clydesdales forward Dale Perkins with the 47th Battalion Trophy. (Image courtesy of Robert Redfern).
STRONG PERFORMANCE: Toowoomba Clydesdales forward Dale Perkins with the 47th Battalion Trophy. (Image courtesy of Robert Redfern). Contributed

Perkins a seventh season victor

AMID the celebrations of victory enjoyed by the Toowoomba Clydesdales last weekend at full time of the QRL Central Division 47th Battalion Carnival at the Sunshine Coast, Ballandean primary producer Dale Perkins stands tall among the undefeated victors in his seventh consecutive season in the esteemed Clydesdales colours.

Respected front-rower Perkins made a significant impact off the bench in all three games contested by the Toowoomba side according to coach and former Canterbury Bulldogs back Ned Murphy.

"Dale had an outstanding carnival, his efforts playing a major role in laying the platform for our success, he's a pleasure to coach and certainly did his job.

"His previous Clydesdales experience, leadership and accomplished playing career has him a player others look up to which is a bonus in a mostly young side.”

Perko, to his team mates, considers it a great honour to be selected for the Clydesdales.

"The TRL take great pride in their professional representative program. It's great to be a part of bringing the trophy back to Toowoomba and showing that again it is the strongest A grade competition in the Central Division.”

Perkins almost slipped through the selection gaps after he made himself unavailable for pre-season Clydesdales matches.

Coach Murphy became aware of the Perkins family plight coping with the challenges of drought on their agricultural business, the overwhelming influence on the dedicated forward's absence from early Clydesdales line-ups.

However his outstanding form across the initial five TRL fixtures this season saw his name eventually highlighted in Murphy's plans.

Currently a front-row enforcer and co-captain of the Wattles Warriors first grade side in the Toowoomba Rugby League competition, Perkins is in his fourth season with the Clifton based club.

Of his previous six campaigns with the Toowoomba representative side, the 28-year-old Perkins has been a member of five '47th Battalion Carnival' winning teams.

An unfortunate gap in his representative tenure arose when he had to withdraw from the Clydesdales in 2016 after dislocating a shoulder a week prior to the Carnival.

Injury reared its head in Perkins' 2017 '47th Battalion Carnival' when he seriously injured an ankle in the final match that required surgery.

Aside from donning the blue jersey of the Stanthorpe Junior Rugby League Club in his early years, Perkins has run on for three senior grade clubs being Stanthorpe, the Gatton 'Hawks' and current club the Wattles 'Warriors'.

Perko has tasted Toowoomba Rugby League premiership success with Gatton in 2013 but he has ambitions of an additional premiership gong with Wattles, who fell just short of the season champion's silverware in the grand final last September.

"The Warriors are going well, having beaten reigning premiers Valleys in the past fortnight to be sitting at the head of the premiership ladder” noted the club captain, 'while you don't win premierships in May, we are looking like we will be about at the business end of the season'.

Wattles' coach & former NRL star Travis Burns rates Perkins a key component in his team.

"It's great to see dedicated players like Dale get representative recognition” said Burns, "he's our co-skipper and forward leader, a significant part of the foundation of our Wattles side.”