PRAISE: Bill Cullen returns to the Capras and is still hopeful of an NRL dream
PRAISE: Bill Cullen returns to the Capras and is still hopeful of an NRL dream Contributed GLA301117CULLEN

Calliope Rooster returns back home to the Capras

RUGBY LEAGUE: On the eve of the Intrust Super Cup season, the CQ Capras have received an enormous boost ahead of a crucial round one home clash against Eastern Suburbs Tigers.

Ex-Calliope product Bill Cullen will return to the club after a stint with NRL club Canberra Raiders.

Cullen had originally signed with the Raiders in June last year and was close to an NRL debut, but he had to bide his time with affiliate NSW Cup team Mounties in 2017.

Capras coach Kim Williams was understandably rapt with Cullen's signing.

Cullen failed to make the final Raiders' squad when all NRL playing lists were finalised last week.

"We've always monitored Bill's progress since he left here nearly nine months ago now to chase his dream with the Canberra Raiders," he said.

"At the end of last season they offered him to stay for another pre-season on a train-and-trial basis."

Cullen, 22, will commit to the Capras this season and Williams said the second rower is still hopeful of making it at NRL level.

"It provided an opportunity for us to see what Bill had in store or had planned I guess for the season ahead and yes mate it was a pretty pleasant conversation," he said.

"Bill was pretty keen to come back here and we were very keen to have him."

He said the combination of Cullen and fellow gun signing of Dave Taylor will help strengthen the team's forward pack and the coach is hopeful Cullen will suit up against the Tigers this Saturday night at Browne Park.

Williams believes Cullen will get another opportunity at the top level.

"It's only the start of Bill's journey towards an NRL berth and it's only his first go at it and he will be a lot wiser and better for the experience," he said.

"He's still got a big window of opportunity left for him to reach his goal of playing in the NRL.

"We're hoping to help him to get back to an NRL club and hopefully debut in the NRL sooner rather than later.

"Obviously if an opportunity comes up for him during the season, then we'll be more than happy to help him on his way again."

The prospects of fellow Gladstone players Tyson White and Jyde Dwyer are high as Williams will name his round one squad tonight.

White and Dwyer both played in the bulk of the pre-season matches and Williams hinted they may get a gig.

"They're both definitely in the running and we have got a couple of niggling injuries and it's fair to say they're in that top 20 or 21 at the moment and in contention for round one," he said.

The bench and second row are positions Williams said he is still to weigh up ahead of Saturday's 7pm game.