Tuesday, February 13, 2024

After three months of punishing pre-season sessions our Mendi Blackhawks will finally face an opposition on Saturday… Two teams in Cairns in fact, in a three way trial against local league outfit Brothers and Q Cup rivals the Northern Pride. Coach Terry Campese has named a 26 man squad for the clash.

“Only A couple of training sessions to go so it’s not far now. The energy has definitely gone through the roof this week. It’s only a trial at the end of the day but it’s all about attitude. You want to see high energy and for them to compete in every situation.”

A handful of 2023 Hasting Deering Colts Premiership players, including the likes of Jesse Yallop and Joel Baldwin who both made their Q Cup debuts last year, will want to show the new man in charge, they’re capable of doing a job for him.

“We’ve been doing a fair bit of scrimmaging at training. Games are a little bit different, but you know they’ve been going against the likes James Tamou and Kyle Laybutt who’s playing in the NRL All Stars game this weekend, so they should feel confident going in.”

Campese has also picked several train and trialists who’ve shown plenty of desire and dedication during the pre-season.

 “We want to reward everyone for their efforts that they’ve put in so far. It’s a big commitment turning up three days a week, some weeks four days, and putting everything into trying to make that next step. So we want to reward them and give them the opportunity to go out there and put the jumper on, and hopefully play well.”

Back in black and green after a retirement which lasted little more than a year, Kalifa Fai Fai Loa’s inclusion adds NRL experience to the squad as does Jaelen Feeney’s selection. The pair are among some familiar faces keen to blow out the cobwebs. A couple of opening round certainties won’t lace up the boots in the far North.