US imports seeking Seagulls Queensland Cup debuts
A MISSION to represent America at the Rugby League World Cup is spurring two former gridiron players towards a Queensland Cup debut with Tweed Heads in 2017.
As part of a Seagulls overhaul following a disappointing 13th finish in 2016, hulking Americans Kevin Reed Jr and Curtis Goddard arrived at the club during pre-season and have impressed on and off the track.
While the pair's ultimate goal is wearing the US jersey at October's World Cup, they're focussed on cementing a spot with the new-look Seagulls, who've welcomed 30 new players.
"This is the highest level of rugby league I've seen and I've never pushed it to this level,” Reed Jr said.
"But I'm learning and my goal is to get 10 games of Queensland Cup this year.”
Reed Jr and Goddard share an excellent multi-sport pedigree.
Reed Jr played outside linebacker for the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League after trialling for NFL club the San Francisco 49ers, the same side Australian star Jarryd Hayne was signed to in the 2015 season.
Goddard played league for the USA Hawks and Boston, before making the move to play with Yass in the ACT.
Playing for the CanAm Grizzlies at the Liberty Cup in Sydney last October, the pair caught the eye of coach Aaron Zimmerle, who invited them to join him at the Seagulls.
"We know what it takes, so we're bringing that excitement and drive to the club,” Goddard said.
"The plan is to set the tone and take the next step. We're just working hard to get better.”
Zimmerle praised the pair's efforts since arriving at the club, with both setting strong standards.
Reid Jr started out running an 8.8 beep test but has raised it to 11.4.
Prop Goddard, who stands at 1.9m, was previously playing at 122kg but is down to 113kg.
"In terms of their physical attributes, they're equal to the guys that are Cup standard,” Zimmerle said.
Zimmerle said while the pair's physicality was on par, their biggest challenge was learning the nuances of the game.
"The easiest way for them to learn is putting them against quality players.”