Frenchville’s Fab Five to play at Qld Country Champs
In what’s believed to be a club first, five Frenchville Pioneers players will turn out for Central Queensland at the Queensland Country Championships this weekend.
Grant Burchmann, Yacob Kial, Caleb Parish, Aarre Hirsimaki and Tristan Butcher earned selection courtesy of strong performances for the Brahmans at last month’s CQ Championships.
CQ will play North Queensland on Saturday and South Queensland on Sunday at the three-way championships in Townsville, with players vying for Queensland Country selection.
Frenchville Pioneers A-grade coach Steve Anderson said it was fitting reward for the five individual players and great for the club to be so well represented.
He said experienced prop Burchmann would be a serious contender for another Queensland Country jersey.
“He and Caleb are our two props and they’re a pretty strong combination,” he said.
“Grant’s played Queensland Country before so he’s got that experience while Caleb, who is only 19, plays well above his age in that position.”
Anderson described towering second rower Kial as “the total package”, boasting speed and agility, good hands and a great fend.
He said the championships would be a great experience for Parish and fellow teenagers Hirsimaki and Butcher, who is the youngest player in the CQ team.
“Aarre is a strong runner and a great defender. He’s a big body in the centres, but he’s very mobile and has really good skills,” Anderson said.
“I believe he’ll be playing breakaway in Townsville so he’ll be learning on the go up there.
“Tristan has a lot of speed and he’s very elusive. He may be slight of frame but he’s not afraid to get in and tackle and run the hard line.”
Anderson said Frenchville would be up against it this weekend in Round 2 of the Rugby Capricornia competition, with the five players away on rep duties and four other regular A-graders unavailable.
The team made a cracking start to the 2021 season, beating reigning champions Rockhampton Brothers 34-10 last weekend.
Anderson said it was a gutsy performance, given they played the best part of the second half a man down after one of their players was red-carded.
“We’re a lot younger team this year, and we’ve got probably seven or eight new faces,” he said.
“We’ve got plenty of size in the forwards and some speed in the backs and when we use it right, we’re pretty good to watch.”