Capras jumping out of skins ahead of first pre-season game
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Central Queensland Capras are jumping out of their skins as the first pre-season match for 2013 looms.
With a stint of intense post-Christmas training behind them, the Capras reckon they're ready to take on rival Super Intrust Cup side Mackay Cutters at Browne Park on Saturday.
"We've trained really hard and now it's time to put it into practice...I'm really excited about this first game and the chance to see what the players have got to offer. They are keen to impress," Hetherington said.
A squad of 40 players, including an under-21 contingent has been training with Hetherington, and 25 of the squad will get the chance to trial this weekend.
"I'm hoping to give everyone an opportunity to play over the three trials before we name a squad for round one...the majority of the squad will be called upon at some stage of the year with players out through injury and what not, it's important to stay involved," the coach said.
The Mackay team, which includes former Australian representative Joel Clinton, should provide a good challenge for the Capras, enabling new players in the youthful side to get a feel for playing at Queensland Cup level.
"The Cutters will be a good test for us as we play them later in the year...we will get a gauge of where we're at and the skill and fitness level we need to have - until players experience and feel that they don't know what to expect."
Despite it being a reasonably young squad, a wealth of experience lies at the core of the player group assembled for the Capras' 2013 campaign which kicks off on March 16-17 against Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles, with the likes of Russell Webber, Alan Rothery, Gavin Duffy and Mick Esdale.
"They've been around for a while and they will be called upon on and off the field for their leadership," Hetherington said.
He in his first year coaching at this level, said he was trying to produce a brand of football that was exciting to watch.
"I'm a firm believer in having a good solid forward pack to lay foundations...that's something we are working hard towards, that the forwards do their job to the best of their ability.
"We have big, fast centres like Russell Webber and Josh Benjamin who if we get clean ball to will create opportunities and exciting wingers who will finish them off for us," he said.
Rather than feeling nervous about the season, he said he was excited about seeing the culmination of all the team's recent hard work.
* February 16, Capras v Mackay Cutters, at Browne Park, 7.30pm.
(Curtain raisers from 4pm - Capras 16s and 18s v Mackay teams)
* February 23, Double Header: Capras v Vanuatu invitational; Capras v Under-20 Broncos.
* March 2, Moranbah Miners v Capras, Moranbah.