Big future in store for Ridgy

ANTHONY Laffranchi is what you’d call a “hard marker”. The vastly experienced back-row player knows a thing or two about what makes a good footballer ... and an ordinary one.

So when Laffranchi gives the tick of approval to work-aholic lock Ben Ridge you should sit up and take notice.

Ridge, who has starred in recent seasons for Tweed Seagulls in the Intrust Super Cup, pulls on a Titans jersey against the Raiders in Canberra on Saturday afternoon in his fifth cap for the club.

He replaces the injured Ashley Harrison.

“He’s the sort of bloke I love to play with,” said Laffranchi.

“Ben’s very tough and not shy in getting in and having a go, and what’s more he can also put on a big hit when the opportunity presents itself.

“He looked terrific in the trials and I’m very pleased to see him get a shot in the top grade – he won’t be letting us down.”

Seagulls coach Ben Anderson has watched as Ridge worked his way back from a number of horrific injuries and into the top grade.

He broke his leg in 2009 then tore his hamstring badly while on the comeback trail.

The 21-year-old Roma product returned for the Seagulls last year and put in an impressive injury-free season, which saw him make his debut for the Titans and play four games at the top level.

Anderson would love to have Ridge in his side this weekend against Mackay, but is happy the former Australian Schoolboy is reaching his potential.

“He has been great for us at the Seagulls, he’s got power in attack and is stinging in defence as well. He is a big country boy with a big physical presence on the field,” Anderson said.

“I would love to see Ridgy make his way permanently into the top grade, he is a good bloke who is held in high regard at the Seagulls.”

Titans coach John Cartwright said Ridge was seen as a big part of the Titans future and had earned his spot in first grade.

“He’s a strong young boy and he’s going to play a lot of first grade for us. Whether that be this year or in the years to come, he’s someone we see as a big part of our future.”

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