See who's in Capras' line-up for their season opener
RUGBY LEAGUE: Home-grown talent Billy Gilbert has secured the coveted No.9 jersey for the Rockhampton Leagues Club Capras in their season opener on Saturday.
The Yeppoon Seagulls prodigy was today named in what coach Kim Williams described as a "very competitive 17-man squad” for the Browne Park clash with the highly fancied Easts Tigers.
Eight players will make their debut for the Capras at the top level - Jerry Key (lock), Dave Cowhan (second row), Connor Broadhurst (centre), Blake Goodman (five-eighth) and Zeik Foster (fullback), with Jamie Hill, Aaron Teroi and Brad Lupi on the interchange bench.
NRL star Dave Taylor will make a welcome return to the team's ranks, joined in a powerful forward pack by Bill Cullen who is back after a nine-month stint at the Canberra Raiders.
Williams said the depth of the squad meant he had to make a few tough calls in several key positions.
Among them was the fullback role which went to Foster at the expense of the experienced Maipele Morseu, and hooker which was awarded to Gilbert who held off some tough competition from both Teroi and Darcy Davey.
Williams is confident that Gilbert will deliver.
"He's probably one of the most enthusiastic and driven athletes that I've been associated with,” he said.
"I'm really pleased for him. He's had to work really hard to get that starting No.9 position.
"He's earned it; now he just has to keep it.”
Williams said it was vital that the Capras started strongly on Saturday as they could ill afford to give a quality outfit such as Easts any sort of headstart.
He said his troops were "itching to get out there” after a gruelling pre-season.
"There'll be no excuses come Saturday; we've done everything we can to prepare for this and we're ready to go,” Williams said.
Chris Warren Homes has come on board as Saturday's game day sponsor.
The main game starts at 7pm, with the Capras under-18s playing at 3pm, and the under-20s at 5pm.
Zeik Foster, Ken Tofilau, Connor Broadhurst, Nathan Bassani, Chanel Seigafo, Blake Goodman, Jack Madden, Bill Cullen, Billy Gilbert, Phil Nati, Dave Cowhan, Dave Taylor, Jerry Key, Aaron Teroi, Jamie Hill, Brad Lupi, Luke George