28 Mar Big start
Queanbeyan first grade face Royals in round one on Saturday at Campese with a new look side up against one of the competition heavyweights. A minute’s silence will be held at the start of the game in memory of John “Jack” Maguire. (see separate story)
Hooker James Douglas moves to prop to link up with stalwarts Neori Nadruku and Carl Elliot. All three have stood out in the trials and clearly dominated Wests and Gungahlin. It is the locks where the side looks a little vulnerable with Sokai Tai joining Michael Douglas on his debut. Douglas has been a bolter this season with a rangy frame and youthful aggression should make it a go.
Lock Becs Seeto has been called up to the Fijian squad and will miss this game and perhaps more.
The back row of Ryan Jones, Justin Sikimeti and Lewis Bozzato is all go and will need to be against Royals.
Two late withdrawals from the backs, centre Jack Gilmour and fullback BJ Jiminez, have not helped but replacements Pierre Mounai and Tino Manuolevao will be excited about a first-grade opportunity.
Halves Mitch Douch and Will Goddard are class and they link with JR Morgan, Levi Clark and the champion James Marmont.
Only six players survive from the July round in 2018.Last year Royals won both games 20-28 and 24-28. The second game belonged to Queanbeyan. The Whites play Royals and Uni-Norths three times this season.
Reserve grade will be named at training tonight with several players undergoing fitness assessment. The colts have been able to name a solid team with the forwards showing a touch of class.
Led by Wyll Holland and bolstered by Matt Winchester and Davea TeoTeo they will be more than competitive. Throw into the mix the Brisbane youngster Zeph Tuinona and the experience of Mika Eli and the backs will get the pill.
Five eighth Brad Winchester has a lot on his shoulders. He needs to take the backline up into the attack as well as finding the space.