Combined Side To Tackle Raiders

THE best of the Queensland Cup will tackle a National Rugby League club at Dolphin Oval next month. In what is believed to be a first for this state, the Redcliffe Dolphins and Brisbane Broncos will combine to field a side to take on the Canberra Raiders on Saturday, February 24. The Dolphins and Broncos will contribute equally to a 17-man squad which should give the youthful Raiders a run for their money in the floodlit trial. Dolphins chief executive James Hinchey is enthusiastic about the format. "We will see the best of the Queensland Cup up against one of the up-and-coming NRL sides," he said. "The combined local side will wear Broncos jerseys with a Dolphin logo. "The combination of the experienced Redcliffe players along with the youth and speed of the Broncos should see us give the Raiders a run for their money. "I expect key Dolphins Michael Roberts and Nick Emmett to play prominent roles in the team. "I'm also confident that Canberra will be at full throttle for this encounter because after this match they go into camp for a week, play a trial, have a week off and then go straight into NRL fixtures." The match should feature the return of former Dolphins Ben Jones, Phil Graham and Craig Frawley in the green of Canberra with match-winner Graham recovering from off-season surgery. The Raiders had a long injury list heading into the pre-season but should welcome back new recruit Neville Costigan from the Broncos as well as Graham and Bronx Goodwin, son of St George great Ted Goodwin. The only top liners who will be missing from the Dolphin Oval trial should be Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Andrew Lomu, Troy Thompson, Steve Irwin and Brett Kelly. Dolphins Danny Green and Grant Flugge won't return from the effects of shoulder surgery until late February or March. Fullback Ryan Cullen has had knee surgery however he is expected to line up against Canberra if selected. Hinchey is scheduling two or perhaps three curtain-raisers before the main match on February 24. The Dolphins play Norths the week before and then take on Ipswich on the weekend of March 3-4 before the start of the 2007 Queensland Cup on March 17.