10 July 2023

Weipa brothers in selection mix as Northern Pride prepares for huge week

| Matt Nicholls
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Denzel King made his return from injury in the Cairns competition and will be aiming for Pride selection.

Denzel King made his return from injury in the Cairns competition and will be aiming for Pride selection.

A FAIRY tale story could emerge at Weipa this Saturday with local brothers Denzel King and Seamus King-Smith in the selection mix for the Northern Pride.

Coach Ty Williams will assess his options today before naming the squad to face the Sunshine Coast Falcons in the HostPlus Cup Country Round match scheduled at Andoom Oval.

Denzel, a veteran for the Pride, was a regular player earlier in the season before a hamstring injury, but returned to play in Cairns on Sunday for the Kangaroos.

His younger brother Seamus has yet to make his first grade debut for the club after battling a back injury earlier in the season, but is also in the frame.

He played his first game of the year for the Pride’s Colts team on July 1 but was rested from their game on Saturday after pulling up sore.

“It’s something I’ll discuss with the coaches but both will be talked about when we sit down and discuss selection,” Williams said on Monday morning.

“We’re coming to Weipa on the back of a couple of losses so there will be opportunities.

“If they are both healthy and up for selection they’ll be a chance to get picked.”

Williams said the sixth-placed Pride would back themselves to beat the Falcons, who are just out of the top-eight.

“Even though we lost (30-14) on Saturday I thought there were enough positives,” he said.

“We made a couple of big plays which got called back on forward passes and that hurt our momentum a little bit.

Seamus King-Smith could make his first grade debut for the Pride this Saturday.

Seamus King-Smith could make his first grade debut for the Pride this Saturday.

“They had some very good talent on the park through their NRL alignment and Jock Madden was probably the difference between the two sides with his leadership and composure.”

The Falcons are aligned with the Melbourne Storm and Jayden Nikorima is likely to start in the halves for the Sunshine Coast in Weipa.

“He’s a classy player and we’ll need to shut him down,” Williams told Cape York Weekly.


NORTHERN Pride CEO Garreth Smith is beaming at the prospect of his club running out onto Andoom Oval, but it’s the work that will be done in the communities that brings him the most joy.

This week, the Pride has a full schedule of events to maximise the exposure they have in Weipa and the surrounding communities.

“I drove up on Sunday with Flo (wife Florrie) and Karl (Adams) and three players are driving up today, while three of the girls are flying up,” Smith said yesterday.

“We’ll be hitting the ground running, starting with Aurukun on Tuedsay, then Napranum and Mapoon on Wednesday.

“We’ll do a clinic in Weipa with the Central Cape Suns and the whole team flies in on Thursday, so there’ll be school visits and probably another trip to Mapoon for a few players.”

Smith said he took the time to speak to the playing group to ask them to make the effort to make the trip to Weipa early.

While the Pride players get paid to play, they are all have jobs or are studying full-time.

“I’ve been blown away by the attitude of the players to support this occasion and to embrace the week as a whole. We wanted to bring more than just a footy game to Weipa,” he said.

The Pride will also host a Q&A session with Smith and Williams at the Albatross Bay Resort ahead of the State of Origin.

Williams, a former Origin star with Queensland, will answer questions, alongside former Cairns Taipans star Alex Loughton, who is in Weipa on behalf of Kenfrost Homes, the Pride’s major sponsor.

“We’re having a captain’s run at Andoom Oval on Friday and kids will be able to get autographs and have a kick of the footy with the players afterwards,” Smith said.

The Pride game kicks off at 5pm on Saturday, however a number of curtain raiser matches have been organised on the day, with action starting at lunchtime.

Find the Central Cape Suns on Facebook for ticket details.

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