The Queanbeyan Blues will begin their redemption Canberra Raiders Cup campaign on Thursday night in Goulburn when they take on the Goulburn Workers Bulldogs in round one action. After losing the grand final to cross-town rivals the Queanbeyan Kangaroos by just a point last season, both coach Simon Woolford and senior player Marc Herbert will be keen to go one better this year. The Queanbeyan Age caught up with Herbert to discuss what lies ahead.
QA: First of all Marc, will you be taking the captaincy again this season?
MH: I haven't spoken about it with the Germ [Woolford] yet so we'll just wait and see. I'd love to take it on again but if there's someone else he's got in mind, there's a fair few senior guys around the club that could do it as well.
QA: Will Trevor Thurling still hit the paddock for the boy despite some niggling injuries last year?
MH: He sure is. He's trained more lightly over the last couple of weeks, but he's been building it up and he'll be ready to go for round one.
He's had a bit of trouble with his knee which has been unfortunate for him but I think he's going to pull through again. He's been resting it all pre-season.
QA: Are we looking at any changes to the side that made the grand final last year?
MH: We have a few changes. We lost our hooker Josh Chudley and our fullback Sam Langford, so we've got some other guys replacing them, as well as some new forwards as well.
But what we've lost we've certainly replaced, so we will have just as good a side, if not better, this season.
We've got Tommy, who's also played Union and done some athletics, to come in at fullback and he's fast and skillful. There's also Kieran who's come from Wollongong and he'll play hooker.
But Ben Nicholls, our halfback from last year, could also slip into hooker as we've got Andrew Mack who's come from England and he'll slip into one of the halves positions.
He's played here previously in the last few years before moving to South London for a bit.
QA: Last season the Blues lost just two games, won the minor premiership, but lost the grand final. Has coach Simon addressed this?
MH: We haven't spoken a lot about it. It is obviously something that's in the back of our minds as we move forward, but there's a lot of new guys in the team this year so I think we'll move on pretty quickly.
At the start of the pre-season we spoke about the positives of last year and how we can convert that to a premiership this year.