For stand-in Melbourne Captain Angus Cottrell, Saturday night’s match against the Queensland Reds will have a very sentimental feel about it.
That’s because Cottrell’s grandfather Nev Senior and father Nev Junior both played as a hooker and scrumhalf respectively for Queensland’s union side.
And while it won’t be the first time in his career that Angus has returned to Queensland to face the side which has such a large connection to his family, Cottrell admits the feeling of nostalgia still exists every time he returns to Brisbane.
“It’s always a huge game going back there,” Cottrell said.
“Obviously being a Brisbane boy, I’ll get a lot family and friends to the game.”
“My dad will be there, but unfortunately my grandad passed away a few years ago, so dad will be there wearing the navy blue instead of red.”
On Saturday, Cottrell will be leading Melbourne out of the players race in his home state as Captain, after being handed the reigns last week against the Sharks while skipper Dane Haylett-Petty recovers from a foot injury.
Cottrell says being selected for the role by Head Coach Dave Wessels was something which caught him by surprise.
However, the 2018 Melbourne Rising NRC Captain says he’s honoured to lead the side out at such a pivotal time in the season.
“It’s unfortunate we don’t have Dane, he’s huge for us at the back,” Cottrell said.
“I don’t know how it came about, Dave just put the ‘C’ next to my name last week and I was pretty honoured to represent the side.
“To have that ‘C’ next to my name was a huge honour and I took it with both hands.”
Cottrell will attempt to lead the Rebels to victory over fellow Conference rivals Queensland, in what looms as a pivotal double-points match for both sides.
Aside from sticking to playing an intense fast paced brand of rugby, Cottrell says one thing Melbourne has focussed on during the week is tightening their discipline, which was reviewed internally after conceding 31 penalties over two games in South Africa.
“As a team, we try and compete pretty hard and we sometimes give away too many penalties,” he said.
“We’ve looked at that pretty hard during the week, and we know it’s on us, so we can fix that pretty easily.
“We’ve come off two losses and we’re working hard to get another win on the board. It’s a local derby game so turning up against a pretty red-hot Queensland side will be big for us this weekend.”