CAPRAS COUP: Big-name signing for women’s team
The CQ Capras women have added another big-name recruit to their roster, securing the services of Australian Jillaroo and Queensland Maroons lock Annette Brander.
The 28-year-old will line up with the team in their pre-season trial against the North Queensland Gold Stars in Mackay on Saturday.
Brander’s experience, along with that of skipper and fellow Jillaroo Chelsea Baker, will be invaluable for the young Capras squad.
Coach Amanda Ohl said recruiting Brander was a real coup for the club, which will contest the eight-team BHP Premiership.
“It’s pretty big for our area to add another experienced Jillaroo, Queensland and Broncos player to our mix,” she said.
“The team Annette had been playing with, Souths Logan, failed to have the numbers to field a team this year so she reached out to us to see if there was an opportunity here.
“I didn’t think twice about it; we’re very happy to have her.
“We do have a very young, inexperienced forward pack so it will be good just having her around to settle things down.
“She knows what to do, when to do it and how to do it.”
Brander attended one of the Capras training camps last month and will be there for a training run with the squad on Saturday before the trial game.
Ohl has named a 21-player squad, and she intends to give them all game time.
She said the players were excited to be back after the 2020 season was cancelled after just one round in response to COVID.
“It’s been a long road, it’s been almost 12 months to the day that we played our last game of football,” she said.
“Everyone will be relieved and happy just to get on the field.
“There’ll be a lot of chopping and changing because there’s still a few positions I’m yet to settle on.
“There’s places in the top 17 still to be decided and I want the girls to prove that they have earned the jersey.”
Ohl said fitness and effort were two things she would be focused on.
“For me, fitness is key,” she said.
“I also want to see effort; that willingness to keep going when there’s nothing left in the tank.”
The Capras play their opening game of the season against West Brisbane Panthers in Brisbane on Saturday, April 10.
CQ Capras women’s squad
Chelsea Baker, Keysha Baker, Reeghyn Beardmore, Annette Brander, Tayla Bean, Rikarra Benjamin, Gemma Brennan, Naomi Clayton, Samartha Leisha, Emmaley McMurdy, Bree Spreadborough, Meg Neven, Sophie O’Toole, Emma Paki, Jessica Powell, Levinia Robinson, Kailah Rogers, Krystal Sulter, Bronwyn Takaku, Abbey Templeman, Sharni Upton.