Ryan James will play his 50th NRL match today, for his local club too being a proud Bilambil Jet junior.
It has taken a little while because of injury since making his debut in round 14 of 2010, and being limited to just four games last season due to multiple shoulder injuries.
‘Dark’ is keen to make 2015 a landmark season for him and he has begun in fine form. We need him to stand up against the physical Knights pack today too.
The entire Titans NRL team will celebrate the PlayNRL round by wearing their junior club socks in this evening’s match – the only team to do that this round and, I believe, make history with 17 player in different socks in an NRL game.
It’s a tribute to the big effort by our community and game development manager Renee Cohen to gather all the socks and each player’s junior jersey which will be signed by the player and used for fund raising.
Our players certainly come from far and wide. Kierran Moseley the only NRL player ever from Cloncurry and we have Josh Hoffman (Mackay), Dave Taylor (Blackwater), Nate Myles (Cairns), Greg Bird (Maitland), Luke Douglas (Yamba), Matt White (Inverell), Anthony Don (Grafton), Daniel Mortimer (Orange), several Sydney based juniors and locals Ryan James and Ryan Simpkins, plus David Mead (Lismore) from our catchment area.
The team and their junior clubs are:
Josh Hoffman (Mackay Norths Devils), Anthony Don (Grafton Ghosts), James Roberts (La Perouse Panthers), William Zillman (Rochedale), David Mead (Marist Bros Lismore), Aidan Sezer (East Hill Bulldogs/Beralla Bears), Daniel Mortimer (Orange CYMS), Luke Douglas (Yamba Dolphins/Lower Clarence Magpies), Beau Falloon (Coogee Wombats), Nate Myles (Southern Suburbs Cairns), Ryan James (Bilambil Jets), Dave Taylor (Blackwater Crushers), Greg Bird (West Maitland Wallaroos), Eddy Pettybourne (Mascot Jets), Matt White (Inverell Hawks), Ryan Simpkins (Currumbin Eagles/Tugun Seahawks), Kierran Moseley (Cloncurry Bulls).
The players who dropped out of the pack this week to make way for the returning four had done the club proud with their efforts against Wests Tigers and Penrith. However, when it comes to gain in experience for this match, it provides telling statistics.
The four players who dropped back had 90 NRL games between them – Matt Srama 64, Mark Ioane 20, Lachlan Burr 3 and Agnatius Paasi 3.
In their place comes 563 games in experience in Greg Bird 201, Dave Taylor 151, Matt White 138 and Beau Falloon 73.
Greg Bird has certainly looked trim and fit and been bouncing around with energy since his return to training on Tuesday.
He is 3kg lighter than when he last played a month ago in the trial against the Cowboys in Cairns. Bird will take on his brother-in-law Robbie Rochow in today’s game, a clash which often brings out the best in the pair.
Ben Ridge revealed this week that he has had trouble finding the time to get the hours needed to get his commercial helicopter pilot’s licence. He would need 115 flying hours (and 30 on the ground) and is only around 10 per cent towards his target. ‘Ridgey’ would love to have the ability to fly around the family property near Roma or do droving or other duties around the bush when he finishes his footy career.
Time has been an impediment to clocking up more hours but I’d imagine cost is another - at around $300 an hour flying (depending on what sort of helicopter is used) that’s a cost of over $35,000 all up.
Eddy Pettybourne’s prank on a sleeping Daniel Mortimer at Sydney airport last Sunday, lodged on his Instagram account, went viral and was picked up by the Daily Telegraph newspaper that trolls NRL player social media activity and lists its ‘plays of the week’. It had nothing like the reach of Kev Gordon’s ‘magic carpet ride’ video which had 3 million Facebook views.
Click here to have a look at the Tele’s collection that included Fast Eddy:
THIS WEEK’S TRIVIA:
Only three players out of the 34 players selected for today’s Titans-Knights clash have played in grand finals. Name them.
Last week’s answer: The only two players whose name starting with Z have played 100 first grade games – William Zillman and Lou Zivanovic (Penrith).