Nine from South­ern Downs to play in two rep tri­als

Warwick Daily News - - SPORT - GERARD WALSH

RUGBY LEAGUE: A year ago, Wat­tles prop Mitch Duff was plan­ning to have a sea­son off. Now he will be play­ing with the Toowoomba Cly­des­dales in a game be­fore the Fe­bru­ary 16 Bris­bane Bron­cos trial.

Duff, 22, is one of nine play­ers from Wat­tles and War­wick in the Cly­des­dales squad of 44 for two games against Bris­bane Wests at Fa­ther Ranger Oval as cur­tain rais­ers.

He is joined in the squad by Wat­tles team­mates Ty Gard­ner, Dale Perkins, Jake Har­g­reaves, Mitch Koina and Matt Dug­gan.

War­wick full­back/sec­ond rower Craig Donn is in the squad along with hooker Ben Sul­li­van and prop Sam Broomhall.

Duff first played ju­niors for Wat­tles at un­der-11 level and won three premier­ship in the War­wick and Dis­trict Ju­nior Rugby League.

He played un­der-18 footy for Wat­tles and is in his third sea­son in A grade.

Duff suf­fered a knee in­jury at the back end of the 2017 sea­son and had surgery but planned to sit out the 2018 sea­son.

“Reg­gies (re­serve grade) conned me into play­ing and I had four or five games be­fore I started play­ing A grade again,” he said.

Duff went on to play in the TRL grand fi­nal for Wat­tles and left the field with five min­utes of the sea­son de­cider to go and his team in front.

Val­leys then scored in the dy­ing min­utes and con­verted to snatch the premier­ship tro­phy.

Duff made a Dar­ling Downs pri­mary school team while a stu­dent at Rye­ford State School but this rep­re­sen­ta­tive se­lec­tion is his first in a decade.

He ac­knowl­edges he only got this chance be­cause the Wat­tles re­serve-grade team got him back on the field last sea­son.

Duff has al­ways been a prop and weighs in at 120kg.

He ad­mits he needs to do more weights to build up mus­cle and his best play­ing weight would be around 114kg.

His fam­ily run a grain, cat­tle and lucerne farm at Vic­to­ria Hill and Duff has the chance to go for some runs for fit­ness on the farm.

He was al­most a sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion premier­ship player with Wat­tles last sea­son as his fa­ther Mal was in a win­ning Wat­tles A-grade team in the 1970s.

Duff played in the Vic­to­ria Hill cricket team which won the Len Mor­ris Me­mo­rial Tro­phy two week­ends ago at Al­lora.

On Fe­bru­ary 16, Bris­bane Bron­cos will play Souths Lo­gan in a pre-sea­son game at Fa­ther Ranger Oval at 6pm, after the Cly­des­dales/Wests games.

Photo: Kevin Farmer

SEA­SON OPENER: Mitch Duff of Wat­tles play­ing against High­fields in last year’s TRL Premier­ship pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal. His 2019 sea­son will start for Toowoomba Cly­des­dales on Fe­bru­ary 16.

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