LOOK out Ipswich, there's a new contender in this year's Rugby League Ipswich premiership title race.
With preseason training just heating up, the Eastern Cobras have been officially included in this year's Ipswich A Grade competition.
Announced on Monday, Rugby League Ipswich manager Brendon Lindsay was delighted to include a seventh team to the mix in 2017.
"Having seven teams now will throw a different dynamic into the A Grade competition," Lindsay said. "Ultimately four or five years ago when the Cobras were introduced (to the RLI) the goal was to create an A Grade side with the knowledge that the area is a major growth sector for our game.
"It's an exciting time for the community and I look forward to having them run out in A Grade."
Given a green light by the Rugby League Ipswich development committee and board of directors, the Eastern Cobras will be chaired by new president Elton Grace as the club looks towards a huge year in 2017.
Charged with leading the combined Redbank Plains and Springfield outfit into 2017, last year's RLI coach of the year Morris Kemp, has been announced as the club's inaugural A Grade coach.
"The Redbank Plains and Springfield juniors have really come together under the Eastern Cobras and their success on the field in 2016 has put them in good stead," Lindsay said. "Elton has come in to help drive the club forward and with some support from our office we think it's a real positive for the competition.
"We made the decision that 2017 is the right time to introduce the Cobras into the A Grade competition and Morris as the inaugural coach definitely has the respect of the players."
Grand finalists in the 2015 Colts and 2016 Reserve Grade competitions, the Cobras are no strangers to playing quality football.
With players set to resume their preseason training tonight, Lindsay said the new inclusion showed Ipswich was open to bringing in new faces to the local competition.
"With the recent restructure it goes to show that if clubs are willing to put a case forward to the board it will be looked at positively," he said. "Decisions will be made for the right reasons and our office will offer any support we can.
"The player base is definitely there and the area will only grow in regards to population.
"I would like to congratulate the Eastern Cobras committee and both the Redbank JRLC and the Springfield JRLC for all their hard work throughout 2016 and wish the club all the best for their inaugural 2017 A Grade season."
With Kemp taking the A Grade coaching reigns, Charlie Carney has been announced as the man to take over as Reserve Grade coach with Kenny Hughes to take charge of the Under 19 Colts. Positions for teams managers, League Safe and First Aide officers are currently open with applications to be sent via email to easterncobras@- hotmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Grade - Morris Kemp
Reserve Grade- Charlie Carney
Under 19s - Kenny Hughes