CENTRAL Queensland truly is rugby league heartland.
Over the years our NRL stars have run thick and fast, from the towering Duncan Hall the 1940s Rockhampton Brothers man who won a place in the team of the century, to the diminutive but equally influencing Cyril Connell to Emerald's Steve Bell and the ever-popular PJ Marsh.
2017 is no different with ten players and one coach lining up with their respective rounds chasing that ultimate Provan and Summons trophy.
We want to know - which team is Rocky's favourite?
Which team do you support?
Corey Oates - The Biloela sensation fulfilled a lifelong dream with his three Origin games last year and can now target a Kangaroos World Cup place. A giant of a man at 6 foot 4, Oates can score a try. 46 meat pies from 78 games is up there with the best in the business. Still some refuse to label him a winger and await his move to the pack. His form faded as did the Broncos and he struggled with the 'yips' but if he can return mentally it should be another year for the highlights reel.
Ben Hunt - Headline we want to see: Hunt re-discovers his mojo and breaks Brisbane's premiership drought. The most famous thing out of Dingo since the trap throwing, Hunt will have a dollar shaped price tag on his head all year. Has come under fire in his inability to consistent deliver for Brisbane and has questions about his kicking game. But when his running game is on song and he and Anthony Milford are flying, few teams are as red hot as the Broncos. Here is hoping Hunt can re-find his mojo and guide Brisbane to their first title in 11 long, barren seasons... no pressure son.
Jonus Pearson - Plucked from Q-Cup level after Brisbane had a string of injuries late in the year, Pearson held his own and then some. With two tries on debut, the Yeppoon Seagulls junior showed he belongs at this level. He is not in the Broncos top 17 but at just 21, time is on his side. He is big, fast and has a tremendous leap, and is highly rated at Red Hill for a reason. He is only one or two places behind in the pecking order. Pearson will again link up with Adam Mogg at the Redcliffe Dolphins, hoping to go one better than 2016.
Jake Granville - The pocket rocket Rocky star is lethal from dummy half, arguably the best of the current crop. A former fullback, Granville was instrumental in the Cowboys grand final glory year. Granville proved that QCup success does transfer to the big stage - he won back to back premierships with Wynnum-Manly and yet couldn't crack first grade. Finally got his chance and delivered. One of the Cows most consistent and hardest workers.
Matt Scott - What else can you say about the big man. Arguably the best prop of the last decade, the Gemfield Giants and Longreach Tigers junior would once take the bus driven by his mum for eight hour round trips just to play the greatest game of all. Approaching the twilight of his career, Scott is likely in his last representative season and desperate to get one more premiership.
Sam Hoare - 2017 is this Rocky junior's biggest chance at the top grade. With James Tamou and Ben Hannant not at the club, Hoare can and will add to his 14 appearances. Whether he has to wait until the Origin period or earlier, that is up to him.
Cam Munster - All eyes will be on this revelation from Emmaus College. Never a schoolboy star, Munster did it the hard way but is now cashing in. Surprised everyone in the ease that he handled NRL as a teenager and replaced the irreplaceable Billy Slater with the same ease at the back. His stardom had the Storm in the running for the grand final with seconds remaining. Now, with a new challenge playing pivot, Munster is out to emulate another great, Darren Lockyer. The jury is still out on how he will go with more responsibility but with a half next to him in Cooper Cronk, how hard can it be?
Tim Glasby - Rugged, hard, underrated and forgotten. Glasby never receives the plaudits he deserves, and never attracts the eye of commentators or rep selectors. But like a well-oiled machine, he does his job each week. One of Craig Bellamy's consistent forwards, the Norths Knights junior has appeared 63 times for the Storm and made their grand final 17. Is again on the bench for Melbourne's round one clash with the Bulldogs.
Dave Taylor - Once believed to be the most promising and destructive forward since Shane Webcke, the Blackwater Crushers' junior has put his size 14 foot through his career big time. Poor and incosistent form, combined with a questionable attitude saw him shopped to other NRL clubs. Then his cocaine charges was the straw that broke the camel's back. Handed a lifeline by the Canberra Raiders after all that broke, Taylor returns to the game. It is surely his last ever chance to prove he is worth it. When he is in the mood, which, albeit is few and far between, the giant man is a force of nature
Kurt Mann - Winton's sole NRL representative, but most definitely not the sole from St Brendan's College, Yeppoon. Mann has narrowly missed out on an outside back position at St George but is right in the mix. The former Stormer knows his way to the try line - 20 tries in 41 appearances. Injury pressing, he will play NRL at some stage this season.
Anthony Griffin - Man are those Panthers purring. After he was cast off by the Brisbane Broncos, Gus Gould wasted no time in luring 'Hook' to the foot of the mountains and it is looking like a master stroke move. With two of the youngest and most enthralling halves in Nathan Cleary and Te Maire Martin, the compelling Matt Moylan and Bryce Cartwright and workhorse Trent Merrin - a great year is looming for Hook's men. How far will they go? The sky is the limit.
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