When Kirk Murphy comes off the bench in our Country Week clash with Townsville Blackhawks at Hughenden on Sunday, he will be the 46th player we have used in Intrust Super Cup this season.
That’s a lot of changes, brought about through injuries and the number of Titans players that have switched around week to week.
There’s good and bad in that. It means we have had a lot of changes in combinations which can affect the team’s flow. Lindon McGrady, for example, has had five or six back-rowers in his edge in the past few weeks.
But the positive is that it has given us a chance to see how a lot of our squad perform at Queensland Cup level, and see what depth we have. And I think we’ve measured up pretty well there.
We head up north with three straight losses on our record after winning eight from nine but we’ve been in all three of those games for a good part of the match.
A concern has been the starts to our second halves. Against the Bears we led 16-12 at the break after letting in two late tries in the first half and were beaten 34-16.
Against Wynnum Manly on North Stradbroke Island we led 10-6 at the break but let in three tries in a 15-minute period from the 50th minute and went down 24-22. Then against Souths Logan last weekend we were behind 10-6 at the break but conceded a try in the 44th minute.
The turning point was when Kane Elgey had a try disallowed in the 53rd minute in a 50-50 call and they scored off the next set and gathered confidence and momentum off that. We need to start better in the second half and get back to the grind we were so good out during our winning run.
During that time we had a lot of stability in our squad but we’ve been without Brayden McGrady, Cheyne Whitelaw, Tristan Lumley, Mia Sands, Hiale Roycroft and Brendan Elliot in the past few weeks and we’ve had to adjust to that.
Hiale and Tristan will be back next week, and we hope Bryce Cartwright will be back in action to for us after being really good in his one appearance for the Seagulls.
Shaun Carney is back this week in A-grade and Shane Gillham returns at Tugun too, so we’re going to be stronger hopefully for the last few rounds.
Kalangi Going has been a good pick-up for us, through Ezra Howe’s Canberra connections. He was in the Raiders full-time squad but felt he wasn’t getting opportunities so has headed here for the rest of the season and he’s been excellent in the past couple of games.
He is nice and physical and a strong carrier of the ball who captained Canberra’s under-20s last season and was picked for the Junior Kiwis the last two seasons but injury interrupted.
It’s a fair trip for us this weekend to play against my brother Kristian’s Blackhawks who are in very good form. We’ll have to travel without Ryan Simpkins who has a hamstring injury and Ali Grant who was really good at fullback for us against the Magpies.
We stay in Brisbane on Friday night then hop on a charter flight to Winton on Saturday morning (two-and-a-half-hour flight) before a two-and-a-half-hour coach ride to Hughenden. Luckily, we can get a charter flight straight back to the Gold Coast on Sunday after the match.
Having grown up at Mt Isa, I know the importance of taking games like this to the bush and it’s a great promotion.
And it will be good to catch up with Kristian – although there mightn’t be too much talk about footy before the match!