Gladstone’s Capras squad members during the first local training session.
Gladstone’s Capras squad members during the first local training session. Luka Kauzlaric

Gladstone players out in force to train for Capras spot

ON hand to witness the first-ever training squads in Gladstone for his team, the Central Queensland Capras, coach Jason Hetherington was in awe of the way the local rugby league players carried themselves.

Despite being in the off-season, a total of 34 players ran onto Marley Brown Oval to put their best foot forward for the Queensland Cup team, with another 10 unable to make the first session because of prior commitments.

Hetherington, surprised by the sheer number of players, was also keen on the effort and skills of the Gladstone crop he has at his disposal for the 2014 season.

"It is a whole lot more than I expected, I am really impressed," Hetherington said. "I used 38 players last year, so a lot of these boys will get their chance."

With the lure of a berth in the Queensland league and the need to travel to Rockhampton for training diminished, more players are likely to emerge from the woodwork.

Hetherington is glad of the initiative to welcome more Gladstone players into the squad, trusting in the great strength of the local competition to build tough players.

"We will unearth them. Last year we found them and they took off," he said. "If they want to play at that higher level it is entirely up to them to do it now."

Leaving training staff including Steve Southern, Peter White and Richie Duff in control of the Gladstone sessions, Hetherington will not only rely on reports to bring on players.

The coach will make the journey regularly, promising that the Gladstone hopeful will be given an equal chance to be a part of his plans and line-up.

"I hope to be here at least once every fortnight, that is a definite," he said.

"It takes a little time to unearth the talent and a few might drop off, but that is why we started now."