Field keen to repay Bilambil
CRAIG Field hasn't forgotten his first game for the Cudgen Hornets, in last year's trial match against the Bilambil Jets.
The wily NRL veteran was stunned when his new team was comprehensively beaten by the Gold Coast Rugby League grand finalists, and he is keen to make amends when the two teams meet again today at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff.
“I just remember getting killed by them,” he said. “They put us to the sword and I wasn't real happy.”
Field, 38, arrived at the Hornets as a star halfback, and in his second year with the club has been appointed captain-coach.
He knows it is only a trial but, put simply, he doesn't like to lose, let alone be embarrassed.
The Hornets play in the Northern Rivers league, while the Jets compete in the Gold Coast competition, so it is the only time the two teams will meet this season and the only chance for revenge.
“Last year was a bit of a lesson for me and it has made me change a few tactics for this pre-season,” he said.
“We don't want to go down the way we did last year.
“I would love to beat them and do what they did to us.”
Field will be giving his chosen team plenty of game time in an effort to have them match-fit ahead of the season, and he wants to see his troops giving it their all. “Effort and execution and things like that are what I will be looking for this weekend,” he said.
“From my point of view, I was really pleased with our game against Runaway Bay (last weekend) and all I am looking for this trial is for us to take what we did in 60 minutes and extend that for 80 minutes.”
The Hornets will unveil new signings Simon Kelly and Matt Slattery today, and will welcome back Tom Prichard after an outstanding season last year.
Cudgen's master and apprentice prop forwards Dan Donovan and Brady Upton will lead the forward assault.
Upton was impressive against The Bay after an 18-month layoff because of injury. Damian Perry has been given an early shot at the fullback spot, while the mercurial Shannon Murphy is back in training.
Meanwhile, new Bilambil Jets coach Jim Lenihan wasn't going to buy into a war of words with Field.
“I don't know what happened last year. Obviously we would like to win, but honestly it is not that important to me this weekend,” he said.
He was looking forward to seeing how his players performed in the 13-a-side game for the first time.
“Obviously I am new to the club, so I will be using it as an opportunity to see how people play in their chosen positions.”
The new coach will test combinations and give players opportunities in multiple positions in today's game, which will be contested over four 20-minute quarters.
Cudgen operations manager Graeme Lawrence said before the break-up of the old Group 18, clashes between Bilambil and Cudgen were wonderful games of rugby league.
“I am hopeful, as is Jets president and close friend Peter Rigney, that the pre-season trial between the two clubs will be ongoing for many seasons,” he said.
“It gives both clubs' supporters the rare opportunity to get together and banter and reminisce about both now and then.”
The under-18 match starts at 3pm (DST), with 25-minute halves, followed by reserve grade playing 20-minute thirds, then A grade, with four 20-minute quarters.