Young skipper to be absent as Capras U18s head to tough bash

RUGBY LEAGUE: Central Queensland Capras under-18 skipper Cooper Bambling will watch from the sidelines for most of the season, following ear surgery.

The CQ Capras U18s squad will take to the field at Browne Park tomorrow night against the Northern Pride in the Mal Meninga Cup, but will be missing a vital member and captain of their team.

Bambling, who had ear surgery to remove a tumour late in 2012, will unfortunately not be able to play for another five weeks under doctor's orders.

Capras' coach Dominic Draper was not too worried though and said while Bambling was out of action he would look to Cody "The Bea" Grills to step into the captain's role.

"Cooper has had some pretty major ear surgery and won't be able to play for another five weeks," Draper said.

"He'll still be at the game and has been helping out but can't play because he's not allowed to take any hard knocks for a while."

Draper said he would rely on St Brendan's student and Yeppoon player Grills to step up and embrace the opportunity to lead the team tomorrow night.

Draper would also look to second-rower Liam Pickersgill to put on a great performance after training with the Broncos over the Christmas period, along with the Capras' hooker Mark Johnstone.

U18 Capras player Liam Pickersgill. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
U18 Capras player Liam Pickersgill. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

"We're looking pretty good, we've played a few good trial games and are fairly healthy," Draper said.

"We're expecting a tough bash against the Northern Pride, they're pretty quick but we haven't seen them play very much so don't really know what to expect. They're a good bunch of kids and have blended together well and are working hard in a pretty tough competition."

Tomorrow's draw

(Week two of competition)

Cyril Connell Cup: CQ Capras Under-16 v Northern Pride Under-16, Browne Park, 3pm.

Mal Meninga Cup: CQ Capras Under-18 v Northern Pride Under-18, Browne Park, 4.30pm.