Big James in Gulls
BIG Ryan James has been included in the Tweed Seagulls squad which takes on Redcliffe Dolphins in the Queensland Rugby League Intrust Cup match of the round at Piggabeen Sports Complex tomorrow.
James made a successful return to the paddock - following a knee reconstruction mid-season last year - in last week's exciting 34-26 victory over Easts Tigers, also on home territory at Piggabeen.
His 33 minutes out on the field impressed coach Ben Anderson.
"He went really well for a bloke who hasn't pulled on a footy jumper for about 11 months," Anderson said,
"Ryan went looking for work and made a couple of good, strong runs which caused plenty of headaches to the Tigers defenders."
It is expected that the powerful forward will be given a few hit-outs with the Seagulls before Gold Coast Titans coach, John Cartwright, pulls him up into the National Rugby League competition.
The young fella looks to have a bright future in the game and no doubt everyone on the Gold Coast is hoping his comeback is successful.
Sunday's game will be televised live by Queensland Channel 9 (2.10pm) as the match brings together second-placed Dolphins (12 points) and the Seagulls who have a game in hand and lie in third place on 11 points.
Heading the ladder on 14 points is defending premiers, Wynnum-Manly.
Over the next few rounds, the Seagulls, as well as building on their five-match winning streak, will be looking to boost their points for-and-against average which could play a major role when positions are decided at the end of the home and away series.
Wynnum Manly have a +128 percentage while the Dolphins are doing even better with +150.
Leaking 22 points to the Tigers over the latter stages last week didn't help the Seagulls' percentages which now sit at +35.
On paper, the Seagulls field the best pack in the Intrust Cup - one which could give a good account of itself in the NRL.
Ben Ridge, Michael Henderson and James are certain to get plenty of time with the Titans as we get into the colder months while Aaron Cannings, Matt King, Cody Nelson, Rod Griffin, Jake Leary and Tom Kingston are all quality footballers.
But - all together now - football matches are won out on the paddock.
If the Seagulls pack gets on top of their rivals, look out for another big game from Brad Davis who last week became the fifth player to reach 1000 points in the competition.
He is the second highest goal kicker in the comp's history with 455 - behind Nick Parfitt with 483.
Coach Anderson is predicting a tough encounter with the visitors who weren't down the back of the queue when good footballers were being divvied out.
"That young Dane Gagai (fullback) looks to have a really bright future - he's all class, Dave Hala is sure to make an impact off the bench and their halfback (Maurice Kennedy) is very nippy and has all the skills," Anderson said.
Tweed Heads Seagulls: 1 Shaun Carney 2 Joe Vickery 3 James Wood 4 Matt Hundy 5 Tom Merritt 6 Ryan Milligan 7 Brad Davis (c) 8 Aaron Cannings 9 Matt King 10 Michael Henderson 11 Ben Ridge 12 Cody Nelson 13 Tom Kingston 14 Rod Griffin 15 Jake Leary 16 Matt Carbutt 20 Ryan James
Redcliffe Dolphins: 1 Dane Gagai 2 Delroy Berryman 3 Aaron Whitchurch 4 Paul Ivan 5 Liam Georgetown 6 Zac Strasser 7 Maurice Kennedy 8 Chris Farrell (c) 9 Tui Samoa 10 Isaak Ah Mau 11 Nick Slyney 12 Troy Giess 13 Chris Faust 14 Tom Murphy 15 James Ackerman 16 Matt Handcock 17 Dave Hala.