Capras welcome big-name additions for trial
RUGBY LEAGUE: The CQ Capras women will receive an injection of experience for their weekend trial against the NQ Gold Stars.
Jillaroos and NRLW player Chelsea Baker and Queensland State of Origin squad member Elle Stitt will both make their first appearance for the Capras.
They are among the 19-member squad that will tackle the Stars at 3pm on Saturday at Rockhampton’s Browne Park.
The Capras received more good news in the countdown to the inaugural QRLW competition, with Central Queensland Indigenous Development coming on board this week as a major sponsor.
The Capras women’s game is one of four to be played on Saturday, when the club’s under-18, under-20 and Intrust Super Cup teams will take on the Mackay Cutters.
The women will be without Brisbane Bronco Tamika Upton, who is still nursing an injury suffered in this month’s NRL Nines in Perth.
Coach Amanda Ohl said she would not be taking any chances with her star recruit with the QRLW season kick-off just two weeks away.
She said she would also be resting Kelli Dunlop and Zeah Lane, who both pulled up a little sore after the Capras’ first trial against the Souths Logan Magpies on February 15.
Ohl may be forced into a last-minute backline reshuffle as utility Reeghyn Beardmore is isolated by floodwaters at her family’s St George property.
The coach said she would be looking to Baker, Stitt and Mariah Storch to lead the way on Saturday.
“The Stars are the other regional conglomerate and they’ll have girls from Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Moranbah,” Ohl said.
“I expect another physical game, knowing a lot of the players involved up that way.
“Our plan will be to use the heat and their size against them, to run their forwards from one side of the field to the other and wear them out, and for our faster girls to create some havoc through the middle.”
The Capras’ squad includes players from every corner of QRL’s Central District, from Rockhampton to Longreach, and Toowoomba to the Sunshine Coast.
Ohl said a two-day training camp in Rockhampton last weekend allowed the players to get to know each other better and start working on their combinations.
“We probably just need to find our shape a little better,” she said.
“We need to get a bit deeper and stick to our patterns a little better and that will come with time spent together training and playing.
“I would hope each week that we see an improvement in what we’re doing around the park.”
Squad member Kailah Rogers made the 14-hour round trip from Longreach to attend the weekend camp.
She said the QRLW provided a fantastic pathway for regional talent.
“Obviously this is something they’ve been working towards for a few years, so it’s really good to see it finally up and running,” Rogers said.
“I’ve been in a few of the rep pathways over the last few years, but to play a full season at this level is great.”
Rogers cannot wait for the season to start and is predicting good things for the Capras, especially after their strong showing against the Magpies.
“We played with a lot of heart and it was clear that everyone loves the game,” she said.
“Hopefully with a few more of these sessions we can get a lot more cohesion happening and progress from there.”