The interstate rivalry continues this week in the representative arena, with the XXXX Queensland Rangers side hosting the NSW Ron Massey Cup representative team at Pizzey Park tomorrow.
The Queenslanders are aiming to achieve their third-straight victory over their opposition in this annual representative game.
Speaking from camp yesterday (Friday, June 23), coach Glen Dreger said preparations had been going well and the team were focused on they needed to do.
“It's been a really good week in camp so far, we've had two field sessions – (last) night we had an opposed with the Burleigh Bears Intrust Super Cup side,” he said.
“The boys were really good; they've been outstanding all week.”
With seven members of the team coming from the Central Crows outfit who again claimed the honours in this year’s QRL A Grade State Carnival, Dreger said it had helped to quickly bond the squad together.
“We have a little nucleus from Central Division, there's seven from Central Division so those boys have bonded pretty well, but all the boys have bonded well, it's just been a great week.”
Adding to the core group of Crows are players representing from all regions across the state, with a number of younger faces in this year’s squad as well presenting an exciting prospect for the team.
Shem Vaoa (Tweed Heads Seagulls) and Ono So'oialo (Ipswich Jets) were selected from the South East Queensland team, while there are a number of Poinsettias players who take part in the Brisbane Rugby League A Grade competition. Some of the best North Queensland talent will also be on show with a trio of Marlins in the 17.
“It's probably a bit more youthful this year; there's six players only turning 21 this year,” Dreger said.
“We had young Sammy Burns (have his) birthday camp this week.
“Also from up on North Queensland, we've got young Rossy Bella, Marty's son … and he's been outstanding Ross and he's only turning 21 as well.
“We've got a little bit of experience as well, but it's a very youthful side.”
That experience includes Jason Wardrop – who is in his fourth year in the team and claimed the Men’s Player of the Carnival award at the State Carnival – and veteran Steven Franciscus.
Both were members of last year’s victorious team and Dreger will be looking for them to help provide leadership on and off the field.
While there is a strong desire to achieve a three-peat tomorrow, Dreger said it was more important to prepare well in order to see a quality performance in the game.
“I don't think there's any pressure on the boys, if we go about our business like we have this week (we will perform well),” the NRL Game Development Officer said.
“Our preparation has been spot on. We've had a really good week.
“They just need to go out and perform on Sunday now and I think the job will get done.”
The match will be played at Pizzey Park, Gold Coast as the curtain raiser to the Burleigh Bears v Ipswich Jets game. Kick-off is at 11.50am.
Follow the scoring details for this game at QRL Live (link below)...