Capras Coach David Faiumu
Capras Coach David Faiumu

Faiumu reveals 2020 Capras squad selection is imminent

RUGBY LEAGUE: The Central Queensland Capras are Papua New Guinea-bound for their third pre-season trial against the PNG Hunters.

The match will double as a curtain-raiser for the an NRL trial between the Cronulla Sharks and the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Capras Coach David Faiumu is expecting a tough match against the only full-time playing group in the QRL Intrust Super Cup league.

Faiumu also said he would be looking to blood younger players on the trip with 90 per cent of the playing group selected having never played in PNG.

The Capras now have the chance to maximise the lessons of offer by pre-season footy while overseas.

“Culturally, physically, mentally, and football-wise – its all new territory for most of our squad,” Faiumu said.

“The statistics are against a lot of the teams that go over there.

“(The Capras are) a younger make up, and it will be different to the one that faced that broncos,” Faiumu said.

This weekend’s trial will also mark the first match of the pre-season trials where the Capras will be able to face another QCup competitor.

“We’re going to be playing them in July, and that was the other reason I wanted to go there,” Faiumu said.

Nathan Bassani is tackled by Hunters players at the CQ Capras v PNG Hunters game last year in Emerald.
Nathan Bassani is tackled by Hunters players at the CQ Capras v PNG Hunters game last year in Emerald.

In addition, the coach said the Hunters shared playing attributes with other QRL sides including the expansive footy of the Ipswich Jets and the hard style of the Burleigh Bears.

Physicality, conditioning, cohesion and pressure are all improvements Faiumu hopes will come from the matches.

“A lot of these players in this squad haven’t played together, therefore that’s another important reason for why we play these trial matches,” he said.

For ex-Hunter Mackenzie Yei, the PNG national can look forward to the perplexing situation of a facing a hometown crowd in an away guernsey.

But Faiumu said the recruit was already having a promising trial run.

“He didn’t shy away from any of the physical battles that we had on the field against the Broncos and he was just in the thick of everything,” he said.

“That’s why he was brought here – because of his presence, toughness, go-forward and strength.”

As for those wanting a full time call-up, the coach said staff were “pretty close” to nailing down the 2020 side, but not without leaving a hint for aspiring Capras on the precipice of selection.

“I pretty much know who is going to be in the squad now, but still want to see how they go,” he said.

“The thing for me is seeing who will be in that starting 18 for our first match against East Tigers.”