The Burleigh Bears will call upon just one player from their state champion Intrust Super Cup roster to defend their Rugby League Gold Coast A Grade title in 2020.
Rugby League Gold Coast regulations have restricted movement from the ISC to four players per A Grade squad but the Bears plan to recast halfback Josh Rogers as the ‘Lone Ranger’ for the season ahead.
The 24-year-old Western Australian-born playmaker moved to the Gold Coast five years ago, finding a home at the Burleigh Bears as he chased a spot on an NRL roster.
After rising through the club’s Under-20s and A Grade teams Rogers enjoyed a breakout season in the Intrust Super Cup with 16 games primarily off the bench.
With no Cup season to play Rogers will return to the Bears’ A Grade squad to develop the parts of his game that could make him a starter.
Coach Matt Foster said in doing so he could help elevate the play of the young Bears squad around him.
“I think the other players will benefit massively from having Josh,” Foster said.
“One thing you get with young players is lots of energy but sometimes they don’t know where to direct it.
“Having that guy who’s been there and done it can have a reassuring effect on young players.
“Josh is fantastic at taking the ball to the line and defensively he’s really strong.
“The area we’d like to see him develop is his talk around the park.
“I’d love to see him find that voice in our shortened competition this year to develop his game ever further.
“While he’s doing that it will give others the best opportunity to develop themselves in their roles.”
The burden of mentoring the young Bears will not fall upon Rogers alone.
Fellow Intrust Super Cup players Luke Page and Jeff Lynch have returned to training with A Grade but do not plan to lace up the boots.
Coach Foster said the effect the duo, particularly club legend Page, were having on the squad was impressive.
“Having those blokes around these younger blokes is great for them,” Foster said.
“Pagey is a legend of the game, certainly at legend at the Burleigh Bears.
“He’s a unique guy, one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet, but his desire and passion for rugby league and the Burleigh Bears is infectious.
“Having him around training you can see a lot of the fellas, young and old, see Luke Page – and he only has one pace, he can’t slow down – seeing him around the place is gold for those boys.”
Youngsters Jayden Campbell, Tristan Powell and Tyler Szepanowski will lead the charge for the Bears.