Countdown on to Capras clash with Broncos right here in CQ
RUGBY LEAGUE: Halfback Jack Madden could not have scripted a better game in which to make his first appearance as captain of the Rockhampton Leagues Club Capras.
The talented halfback will lead the new-look team against the Brisbane Broncos in front of what's expected to be a 3000-strong crowd at the Theodore Showgrounds tonight.
The much-anticipated trial game will kick off at 6pm, capping a full day of footy action which starts with a junior coaching clinic at 9am and continues with a series of games involving teams from across the region.
Thirteen players, including hometown hero Lachlan Norris, will debut for the Capras tonight, while the Brisbane Broncos have named a young side that will be led by clever halves Todd Murphy and Shaun Nona and includes teen sensation Payne Haas.
The action-packed day of league is shaping up as one of the biggest events staged in the small Central Queensland town, 220km south of Rockhampton.
It was preceded by a sell-out sportsman's dinner at the Theodore Hotel last night, with special guests including Broncos' coach Wayne Bennett.
Madden said he and his teammates were primed for the match-up against the iconic NRL club, and that it would give a good indication of where the team was at with the Intrust Super Cup season just a month away.
"Even though the Broncos don't have any of their big-name players we know it's definitely going to be a tough game," he said.
"A lot of our boys haven't experienced this level of football but they're all looking forward to it.
"I'm really excited for the weekend and can't wait to lead the boys out in front of a big crowd.
"It will be good to see where we're at.
"I know we've still got to improve in a lot of areas but we just want to put everything into place that we've practised in the pre-season and see how we perform against some quality opposition."
Madden is feeling good about the Capras' prospects this season, and the recent signing of NRL star Dave Taylor had delivered a boost to the squad.
"All the guys are prepared to work really hard and there are no egos in the team.
"We want to be in and around the hunt for finals; that's what we're all thinking and aiming towards.
"We've gelled really well and we know we have to perform from one to 17 to get the job done."
Capras coach Kim Williams said that with some serious competition for a number of starting spots within the team, tonight presented the perfect opportunity for players to press their selection claims.
"We are firmly focused on our performance, and the players will be judged on how well they do their job.
"I'll be interested to see who the hardest workers are on the field; that will be a big indicator for me come selection for Round 1.
"I want to see a strong display of mental toughness, players working hard and working together."
HOW THE TEAMS LINE UP
Capras squad: Zeik Foster, Junior Kirisome, Connor Broadhurst, Nathan Bassani, Chanel Seigafo, Blake Goodman, Jack Madden (captain), Phil Nati, Billy Gilbert, Brad Lupi, Dave Cowhan, Tyson White, Jerry Key, Aaron Teroi, Jamie Hill, Aaron Flanagan, Jyde Dwyer, Sonny Kerr, Lachlan Norris, Luke George, Jamie Minto, Sam Lollo
Broncos squad: Jamayne Isaako, Corey Allan, Tom Opacic, Gehamat Shibasaki, Moses Pangai, Todd Murphy, Shaun Nona, George Fai, Jake Turpin, Payne Haas, Salesi Funaki, Andre Savelio, Patrick Mago. Interchange: Gerome Burns, David Fifita, Thomas Flegler, Patrick Carrigan, Myles Taueli, Keenan Palasia, Eddie Blacker, Kotoni Staggs
GAME DAY PROGRAM
Rugby League Day today at Theodore Showgrounds
- 9am: Junior coaching clinic
- 11.15am: U15, Emerald Brothers v Biloela Panthers
- 12.45pm: U17, Emerald Brothers v Biloela Panthers
- 2.15pm: Senior men, Woorabinda v Theodore
- 3.30pm: U20 CQ Capras v Central Highlands rep team
- 6pm: CQ Capras v Brisbane Broncos
Admission: $5 (13-years plus) before 11am, $10 after 11am. Tickets at the gate