Opacic to sieze chance with Cowboys
COWBOYS recruit Tom Opacic wasn't expecting to win the race for the vacant centre position, but he's now determined to make it his own against the Dragons on Saturday night.
Opacic made the move north from the Broncos looking for an opportunity after a tough run with injuries and Brisbane's player depth left him battling to lock down a regular NRL berth.
Spots in North Queensland's outside backs were just as hotly contested during the pre-season following the departures of veterans Antonio Winterstein (retirement) and Kane Linnett (Hull KR).
Opacic felt he had started on the back foot in Townsville as he recovered from surgery for a groin complaint, but he impressed Cowboys coach Paul Green with his trial form.
The 24-year-old said he was "absolutely pumped" to see his name on the team sheet this weekend and he was determined to make the most of his first NRL game in more than nine months.
"I wasn't expecting it so it was a bit of a surprise, but I'm really looking forward to it," Opacic said.
"It was a bit of a setback starting in rehab, but I've had a really good preseason. I lost a bit of weight and got a bit stronger so it's all looking good.
"Now that I've got the opportunity I wouldn't mind making it my own for the whole season. That would be the main goal."
Opacic isn't the only former Bronco preparing to make their Cowboys debut on Saturday with Jordan Kahu earning first crack at the No. 1 jersey while forward Josh McGuire will come off the bench.
Opacic said it was nice to have some familiar faces in the squad, but he felt comfortable in the combinations with his new Cowboys team mates.
"The boys are really welcoming and a great bunch of blokes," he said.