High­lands test for TDRL stars

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMP­SON michael. thomp­son@ news. com. au

GRASS­ROOTS footy will get an­other op­por­tu­nity to shine this week­end when Townsville’s A grade rep­re­sen­ta­tive team trav­els to Emer­ald to play the best Cen­tral Queens­land can of­fer.

Townsville will play Cen­tral High­lands tonight as part of a re­newed drive to es­tab­lish a grass­roots tour­na­ment sim­i­lar to the Fo­ley Shield now played be­tween North Queens­land’s Q Cup teams.

Some of the Townsville and Dis­tricts Rugby League’s most ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paign­ers will play along­side ris­ing tal­ents in the one- off game, which comes a month af­ter the North­ern Mar­lins’ state tour­na­ment. “I think it’s a very good squad, even though a few guys we would have liked to pick are un­avail­able,” Townsville coach Cameron Miller said.

“It’s ba­si­cally about pro­mot­ing grass­roots play­ers and pro­vid­ing them with an op­por­tu­nity to be no­ticed by the Townsville Black­hawks and other sys­tems.

“There’s no un­der- 20s or Black­hawks con­tracted play­ers cho­sen in this team, they’re all from the lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion.

“The other rea­son we de­cided to get this run­ning is be­cause we’re pretty pas­sion­ate about the Fo­ley Shield, and even though we don’t have it for now, maybe we’re get­ting a step closer to hold­ing a North Queens­land tour­na­ment on a smaller scale by next year.”

Most of the Townsville squad has been drawn from joint TDRL lad­der lead­ers Brothers and Western Lions, but other clubs in­clud­ing Bur­dekin and Cen­trals have also been rep­re­sented.

“It looks like it will be a fairly strong Cen­tral High­lands team,” Miller said.

“That re­gion of Queens­land is just a pas­sion­ate about rugby league as we are and they draw from strong club com­pe­ti­tions, so we’ll have our hands full.

“It’s a fair bit of trav­el­ling to do by bus as well, and there isn’t much time be­tween get­ting off and get­ting our­selves ready, so there’s that hur­dle to get over.

“But I’m re­ally con­fi­dent it will be a great game of grass­roots footy.”

TDRL chair­man Ross An­der­son said games such as tonight’s were es­sen­tial in keep­ing grass­roots footy alive.

“It’s an­other way for our lo­cal A graders to play rep footy,” he said. “They get to be tested at a higher level and the Black­hawks will be pay­ing at­ten­tion.” Townsville team Nathaniel Bow­man, Shaq Con­goo, BJ Munns, Dan Pick­er­ing, Tom McCagh, Wes Bar­rie, James Red­man, Matt Laumea, Shane Hack­ett, Troy O’Neill, Jack Kelle­her, Shane Cliff, Cade Maloney, Chris­tian Power, Chip­pie Korostchuk, Daniel Mooka, Sione Veuk­iso, Mitchell Guy.

Pic­ture: SCOTT RADFORD- CHISHOLM

PRIMED: TDRL rep team mem­bers Nat Bow­man ( West Lions), Mitchell Guy ( Bur­dekin Roost­ers), Troy O'Neill ( Char­ters Tow­ers Min­ers), Jack Kelle­her ( Brothers), James Red­man ( Cen­trals Tigers) and Shane Hack­ett ( Uni).

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