The Queensland Murri Under 16 team will have to draw on all their reserves of willpower and determination in today’s game against the NSW Koori side.
The side were dealt a heavy blow during camp when playmaker and captain Ezra Mam was ruled out of the match with injury and the rest of his team will have to step up and play to their best potential to cover the loss of his skills and experience.
While he has been named on the bench, centre Brayden Duffy is also a touch-and-go proposition, but will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness to play in the game which will serve as a curtain raiser to the Charity Shield match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Redcliffe’s Braith Major has been named to start at lock in place of Mam, while stand-in captain Tuvallia Khan-Pereira will move to starting centre, with Jackson Warde coming from the bench to start in second row.
Despite a few injury setbacks, coach Keiron Lander and his staff have provided an excellent environment in camp; with a focus not only on the football; but on making sure the players are learning and taking the most from their opportunity.
They have also seen first hand what this game can do, with former Queensland Murri Under 16 captain David Fifita joining the side for their jersey presentation where he also shared his rugby league pathway into the NRL.
Since their arrival in NSW on Thursday, the team have seen up close what an NRL system looks like, with the Penrith Panthers kindly accommodating the squad with a tour of their facilities.
The team also headed out to Mudgee’s Glen Willow Regional Sports Complex to view the South Sydney Rabbitohs captain’s run, and were able to mingle with the players after they had completed their session.
The game will kick off at 5.30pm (4.30pm QLD TIME) today (Saturday, March 2).
Match: Murri v Koori
Round 1 -
Venue: Glen Willow Oval