NAMED: Who will be key to Capras under-16 campaign
The CQ Capras under-16s are ready and raring to go for the opening round of the Cyril Connell Challenge on Saturday.
The team heads to Bundaberg to take on the Sunshine Coast Falcons at 3.30pm.
The Capras under-18s will also be in action, launching their 2021 Mal Meninga Cup campaign also against the Falcons.
Capras under-16s coach Duane Carpenter said his players had prepared well and could not wait for kick-off.
“They’re really excited. A lot of these boys missed out on playing a lot of football last year due to the COVID restrictions and that’s adding to the excitement as well,” he said.
“All the coaching staff are really looking forward to it. It’s great to have footy back in general but to coach in the new Cyril Connell format in its first year is a great opportunity.”
The competition is named after the late Cyril Connell, who was born in Rockhampton.
Connell played 24 games for Queensland and two for Australia, but it was his role as a recruitment officer at the Brisbane Broncos for which he was probably best known.
Carpenter said the challenge was designed to give players an introduction to the QRL’s older age and open statewide competitions.
He said there had been a great response from the region’s players who were keen to get their shot.
“We originally started in January with more than 60 players,” he said.
“We got that down to a 30-player squad, which was really tough, and obviously getting down to a final 17 was tougher again.”
Carpenter said the Capras boasted size, strength and speed.
“We’re a fairly big side. We’ve got strength in the middle, but we’ve got some really good halves from the Central Highlands with captain Tommy Green and Sam Chick, and we’ve also got some size out in our backline too.”
The coach said fleet-footed fullback Ryder Huth would be dangerous on kick returns and on the edges in attack.
The coach would also be looking for big games from lock Haoni Harris and front rower Blaine Watson.
The Capras played one trial game, going down 18-6 to the Mackay Cutters on February 20.
“They were pretty terrible footy conditions; they’d had really heavy rain up there in the days leading into the game,” Carpenter said.
“We didn’t get too much out of that from a trial perspective because of the weather but we worked on a few things we picked up from the game and the boys have really shown improvement in those at training.
“We have got video of the trial games of the Sunshine Coast. They looked very strong and results went their way so we’re expecting a very tough hit-out.
“But if we can keep our footy nice and simple and play square and direct, I think we will do really well.”
Round 1 of the Cyril Connell Challenge/Mal Meninga Cup on Saturday
Capras under-16s: Ryder Huth, Iziah Broome, Ryan Martin, Braith Smith, Ryan Keating, Samuel Chick, Tommy Green, Blaine Watson, Zack Bryce, Te Wairongoa Pohoikura-Mill, Connor Hinds, Mathew Groves, Hoani Harris, Liam Barnes, Oscar Warden, Rydell Tyrrell, Jett Manion
Capras under-18s: Matthew Hill, Kurt Fisher, Coby Williamson, Elekana Suavai, Jackson Warde, Seth McGilvray, Peyton Jenkins, Tyler Keogh-Paladin, Jai Hansen, Tane Kiriona, Jordan Heke, Tyler Conroy, Riley Hall, Izaac Jackson, Jaiden Green, Cadel Crawford, Mitchell Biddulph.