Heelers living up to name
THE Queensland Country Heelers are living up to their name.
The Heelers, featuring Rockhampton product Jono Bradbury, take on New South Wales Country Cockatoos tonight at Suncorp Stadium, as the curtain-raiser to the Queensland Reds v NSW Waratahs Super Rugby match.
After representing Queensland Country in 2007 and 2009, Bradbury is hoping to get his first win in the maroon colours against NSW.
After a string of defeats at the hands of NSW, Bradbury said the Cockatoos would once again be favourites.
“We haven’t beaten New South Wales in about five years,” he said. “We’ll be the underdogs, for sure.”
Queensland Country wrapped up its preparations with coach Tom Rosewarne naming a final 22-man squad for tonight’s match after a full-blown intra-team trial on Thursday.
After a disrupted 2010 due to injury, Bradbury decided against committing to a full season with the CQ Brahmans this year with work commitments his priority, seemingly ruling himself out of contention for the Country side.
That wasn’t the case after Bradbury was spotted playing a club match for University in Rockhampton, and drafted into the initial 30-man Queensland Country squad which will play three games this season.
Bradbury admitted he was surprised to get the call-up to the side after deciding against representing the CQ Brahmans in 2011, but had spoken to Rosewarne earlier in the year about his possible selection.
“He came out to a game a few weeks ago and had a bit of a look,” he said. “I’ve been talking to him on the phone and he’s been keeping tabs on what I’ve been doing.”
The 26-year-old has struggled to get to training with his Rockhampton and District Rugby Union club side University teammates in 2011, but has continued to work hard away from the training paddock to ensure he was in peak physical condition.
“I’ve been doing a bit of training, some fitness and gym,” he said. “I’d rather be training with the team, but that’s the way it is.”
Following tonight’s match, Queensland Country takes on Brisbane Suburban XV on June 30, before the City v Country clash on July 2.
Meanwhile, the Central Queensland Rugby Union Thrifty 2011 A Grade Premiership resumes next weekend.