Capras player Cooper Nobbs is happy to be off the injury list and available for first team duties at Mackay today.
Capras player Cooper Nobbs is happy to be off the injury list and available for first team duties at Mackay today. Allan Reinikka

Nobbs eager to make big impression

COOPER Nobbs is just one of the CQ Capras wanting to make a big impression in this evening's trial match against the Mackay Cutters at Mackay.

While Nobbs has had previous Queensland Cup experience, having played with the Comets, he admits he was nervous lining up for Rockhampton against Gladstone in last week's game.

The young utility player need not have worried, because he came through that match well, scoring a try and looking to be in good form.

However, it was not form that worried Nobbs but his return to playing football after a long injury lay-off.

"I've been out for about 10 months," he said. "I injured an ACL about this time last year."

After a reconstruction operation, Nobbs had to go through the lengthy process of rehabilitation before getting back into competitive football.

"I just tried to focus on making my comeback as soon as I could," he said.

Once the whistle blew to start last week's game the doubts were gone and he enjoyed being back in the action, getting about an hour's playing time.

"Now I have been through the hardest part. I didn't spend 10 months of rehab to not make my comeback and not give everything," he said.

Nobbs said joining the Capras this year had been great.

"They are a good, young group of guys who want to do as much as they can," he said. "There is plenty of enthusiasm.

"It is the best attitude and they will give everything."

Nobbs said he had been told by coach John Harbin that he would be used as a utility, coming off the bench as either a centre or lock.

Like the other young players in the Capras squad, the rest will be up to him.

Harbin will be happy tonight's clash with the Cutters is a trial match, because he has lost another couple of his more experienced players for the fixture.

Ben Faulkner and Johnathon Tavinor have pulled out from the travelling squad with injuries.

The coach has said from the outset he would not risk any player who was carrying an injury and therefore has decided Faulkner's arm infection and Tavinor's bruised shoulder required recovery time.

"We'll be taking 19 players," Harbin said. "We are just not risking any player who has the slightest injury, as the season starts properly in two weeks' time."

Harbin is aware the odds will be against the Capras being successful against the Cutters but has made it clear to his players that is what trial games are about.

"This is where you find out about your fringe players," he said. "We will see who can really stand up to this. It will also be a test of their mental toughness."

The selection of Nobbs so soon after his return from injury is of little concern to the coach.

"I have been impressed with his resilience," he said. "He has stuck at it and taken no short cuts."

Harbin said Nobbs was guaranteed game time against the Cutters.

Travelling with the Capras senior squad will be the under-16 and 18 teams, with the 18s coach Steve Parle seeing this as the end of a long, five-month build-up for the players.

"At training you can sometimes gain a false impression of where you are at," he said.

Now is the time for the players to show they are ready for the new season. The re-vamped program for the Cyril Connell and Mal Meninga cups, with the Capras part of the North Western Conference along with Mackay, means they miss playing the Brisbane teams until the finals.

"It will be better for us in the home and away games but if you want to be the champion you have to beat everyone," Parle said.

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