Gendle cracks 200 as Brothers launch title defence

by Sam Phillips

As he prepares for his 200th game, Brothers skipper Nathanuel Gendle says he is happy to play as long as his beloved club will have him.

The Brothers skipper will be just the third player to don the famous navy and white butcher stripes for the 200th time when he leads his side out against Easts at Bottomley Park on Saturday.

Gendle's milestone doubles as Brothers' first step along what they hope will be the path to a title defence.

Winning back-to-back titles is one of the toughest tasks in rugby and the men from Crosby Park will have to do it with some new faces in their best XV.

Of the team that won last year's Hospital Cup, Taniela "Tongan Thor" Tupou, is now a regular fixture in the Reds best 23, flyhalf Stefano Hunt plies his trade in Romania and Matt Mafi is at Panasonic.Who will win the Hospital Cup in 2017? Photo: QRU Media/Brendan HertelSpeaking at the Queensland Premier Rugby launch today, Gendle backed the fresh wave of Colts making the step up to Premier Grade to pick up where the club left off.

"Most of them have come through the Colts pathway - that’s our goal, to give those guys opportunities and so far they’ve stepped up in the trials and hopefully they step up again this weekend," he said.

Gendle's team were outclassed by Sydney's Norths in the Australian Club Championship, though the captain said the game would hold his team in good stead.

"It was a finals intensity trial game at the start of the season and I think that will bode well come our first round, having played at that intensity during the trials," he said.Can Sam Clifton's Bond University improve on last year's 5th place finish? Photo: QRU Media/Brendan HertelAs for how far his legs will carry him, Gendle said he thought his body had betrayed him many years ago.

"I thought my legs were gone three seasons ago but they seem to keep on going," he said.

"I will play until I feel like I’m no use to the team anymore and they want to get rid of me.

"Only two other blokes have cracked 200 before so I’m pretty honoured to be able to be the third and it’s a big privilege to know the guys who have come before me and will come after me."

Queensland Premier Rugby kicks off this Saturday. For a full list of fixtures, head to redsrugby.com.au.

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