Teenager poised for debut in Queensland Cup
RUGBY LEAGUE: Kawana teenager Trent Loiero is expected to bring plenty of gusto to the Sunshine Coast engine room on Sunday, when he makes his Queensland Cup debut against Norths.
The Melbourne Storm scholarship holder is primed to play for the ladder-leading Falcons, after impressing for their under-20s team during the year.
The Queensland under-18 representative is likely to be pitched into the thick of the action, as a middle forward.
And the youngster is determined to do his bit against hardened state league players.
"I'm going to stick to running hard and tackling hard,” he said.
"I'll just try and do my job and not overcomplicate it.”
Loiero is seen as a real prospect. He spent some of his pre-season training at the Storm before playing with the Falcons under-18 team. He's since spent most of the season with their under-20s team.
He made 33 tackles and produced two offloads during Queensland's win over NSW in their under-18 clash, as a curtain-raiser to the State of Origin match at Suncorp Stadium on June 5.
"And now I get my chance to play an Intrust Super Cup game and I can't wait,” he said.
Falcons coach Eric Smith lauded the 18-year-old, who has been called into his Round 18 team following a string of injuries.
"He's a really strong ball runner, he hits a good hole, he's got a good frame on him and he's really physical for a young kid.”
"He's only 18 but he's really physical. We're looking forward to giving him a run this weekend. I'm sure he's going to bring plenty of enthusiasm and energy.”
The Kawana Dolphins and Mountain Creek State High product, who is in the midst of a carpentry apprenticeship, is also locked in for another pre-season with the Storm.
Meanwhile, game-breaker Nicho Hynes is likely to play for the Falcons, in a timely boost to the team.
"We're pretty confident he's going to be OK,” Smith said.
Falcons officials initially feared he suffered a fractured jaw in their Round 16 clash against Northern Pride on July 16.
"It's probably been a lot better result than what we first thought,” Smith said.
"The fact he's (probably) only ending up missing one game is a great result and he'll be much needed for us when we're a bit light on for troops.”
The ex-Mackay Cutters five-eighth has been a star for the side this season, earning a contract with Melbourne.
"He's been one of our most dangerous attacking players and he's really starting to feel at home in the fullback position,” Smith said.
"Defensively is where he's really improved. It was a new position to him at the start of the season ... but he's really grown and feels comfortable there now.”
The clash at Nanango, in Country Week Round, looms as a tough one. Norths are fifth on the 14-team ladder.
FALCONS: N Hynes, N McGavin, N Saumalu, S Moceidreke, J Reuben, C Daunt, T Murphy, T Rafter, H Grant, T Schaumkel, D Hogan (c), C Lewis, S Burns. Interchange: J Ballinger, D Phillips, B Henderson, T Loiero.