Tully boys steeled for ‘King of the North’ battle
FORMER Tully next-door neighbours Thomas Flegler and Jake Clifford always seem to find each other when their NRL sides meet.
Having crossed paths at last week's NRL Nines in Perth, the pair are set to collide again in their home region on Saturday night when the Broncos take on the Cowboys in a trial match in Cairns.
When the Cowboys hosted the Broncos in Round 21 last year, Flegler collected Clifford with a late shoulder charge after his former Tully Tigers teammate kicked down field.
It resulted in a penalty that put the Cowboys on the attack.
Flegler said he won't be doing that again.
"Yeah, a bit of a late shot there," he said.
"I'll be playing the game, I won't be late-shotting him again, but it's always good fun coming up against your mates.
"I've played footy with him for ages, I've grown up with since we were kids, so it's always healthy competition."
A smiling Clifford agreed that it was "all in good fun".
"He's a very aggressive player and I guess how we've grown up and how that happened in the game, it's pretty funny to look back on," he said.
"I don't mind it. He's one of my good mates so there's no hard feelings or nothing like that.
"It's just a bit of competitiveness, trying to get one up on each other."
The Far North crowd will be eager to see what happens when two of their own take the field for their respective NRL clubs on home soil on Saturday night.
But they won't be the only ones - Clifford's Cowboys teammate Jordan McLean will also be watching on with intrigue.
"Flegler's from Tully as well so they're having a little battle (to see) who's the King of the North out of Cliffo and Flegler," he said.
"So it'll be funny to see what happens there."
But whether its Clifford or Flegler who gets "one up" on the other on Saturday night, Far North fans and the town of Tully will be proud of them both.
COWBOYS VS BRONCOS GAME DETAILS
■ Gates to Barlow Park will open at 4pm.
■ A curtain-raiser match between Northern Pride and Townsville Blackhawks will start at 4.30pm
■ Entertainment will take place between the conclusion of the curtain-raiser and the start of the main game.
■ The main match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Brisbane Broncos will start at 7pm.
■ Tickets can be bought from www.ticketlink.com.au OR at the gate from 4pm on the day