Central Queensland a 'breeding ground' for touch excellence
"A BREEDING ground for elite level players”.
These are the words Rockhampton touch legend Dan Withers used to describe the CQ region as Queensland touch released the 2018 squads for the Origin series.
Two of 33 Central Queensland players selected to don the maroon and white, Owner of Vidafit Dan and partner Courtney Williams will swap burpees for boots to take on NSW in a three games series in November this year.
Dan, who has been selected to represent and captain the mens open team, said this will be his last Origin series, as he retired from representing Australia in 2015 and from the Elite Eight series earlier this year.
Dan said he has some "unfinished business” to take care of at this years Origin series.
"I have put my hand up to captain one more Queensland team at the end of the year,” he said.
"The squad today is the most talented squad I have been involved in.
"A lot of them are also the Cowboy boys who I just won the national championship with.
"I am really confident that if we go down there and execute to our potential that we are going to be an extremely hard side to beat.”
Courtney, who will be making her debut in the womens 30s squad has represented Queensland twice before in the mixed open squad.
Playing alongside other local touch greats in Greta Doherty and Chelsea Baker, Courtney said it was fantastic to have such local representation.
"Chels and I just had some awesome success in our T-League team, so it will be great to be back playing alongside her,” she said.
Dan, who said Rockhampton is undeniably the regional centre for touch talent insists that this is due to years of work behind the scenes from many current and retired coaches.
"It's a reward for a lot of work, from a lot of people across a number of years,” he said.
"Coaches such as Rod Pratt, Glen Williams and Michael Powell bred a really good culture amongst the group that we see coming through and playing representative touch today.
"The beautiful thing about this group too, is that aside from their talent, they are all contributing back into the sport.
"They are now bringing through and positively influencing that next generation.”
Dan and Courtney will join other CQ Queensland rep family cohorts, such as father-daughter duo Cameron and Tamika Upton, brothers Damon, Blake and Aaron Moore, husband and wife Matt and Chelsea Baker and former Rockhampton residents and brothers Lachlan and Cormac Hoch.