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By QRU Media
Queensland Country Heelers Coach Garrick Morgan has named a 30 man squad for the Heelers first match of the year against NSW Country Cockatoos in Townsville to take place on Saturday May 4.
2013 will be a big year for Country Rugby as the players have the chance to progress through to take on the touring British and Irish Lions in a combined Queensland and NSW country side and Saturday’s clash will be the player’s first chance to impress.
Coach Garrick Morgan is excited about the game and says that the players are keen to turn around the results from 2012 where the Heelers lost both matches against NSW.
“The boys are keen to get on top of NSW after last year’s results but we’ll have a challenge ahead of us with short preparation time,” said Morgan.
“We have a well-balanced squad this year and our forward pack will be very strong up front with the likes of Haydn Hirsimaki returning to the squad for another year.”
New players Tereta-Junior Siakisini from the Gold Coast and Taputoa Rea from Cairns will both be vying for a spot in the centres and Morgan is excited about the welcome selection problem they bring.
“TJ has been in great form for the Breakers this year and Sonny (Taputoa Rea) comes from a league background and has a great offload in contact; both will be in contention for a spot in the centres.”
The squad will go into camp in Townsville on Wednesday and Sunshine Coast player and Heelers veteran Haydn Hirsimaki is looking forward to the game ahead.
“It’s a privilege to play for Queensland Country and I’m looking forward to playing in Townsville, one of the strong regional areas,” said Hirsimaki.
Hirsimaki is also looking forward to the British and Irish Lions game but admits that the Heelers must put in a good performance against NSW first.
“The game is definitely in the back of our minds, but first thing, we have to play well against NSW Country if any of us are going to have a shot at making the combined country side so we need to put out best foot forward in Townsville.
“It would be an unreal experience to play against the best of the Northern Hemisphere, a lot of professional’s go through their whole career without having the opportunity so as an amateur player it’s definitely something special.”
Former Queensland Reds and Wallabies player Brett Johnstone will be joining former teammate Morgan on the Coaching staff for the Heelers in 2013 and Morgan is excited to have someone familiar on board.
“Brett and I have a long history in rugby playing together in First XV at Downlands, Club Rugby at Souths, as well as for the Reds and Wallabies so it’s great to have someone I’m familiar with on board.”
“We’ve both played for Country before at a junior level and Country Rugby is our background so it’s great to get back and coach a team that we’re passionate about.”
Queensland Country Heelers Squad
Dale Ah Wang
Far North Queensland