Queensland Country will stake its Australian Country championship prospects on a blend of old and new when they travel to Bundaberg next month to defend their national title.
The XXXX Country team, captained by Toowoomba's David Else for the second year in a row, contains seven members from the team that won the title last season in Barooga in Victoria.
Else, wicket-keeper Steven Baker, pace bowler Cameron Glass, allrounder Peter Reimers and batsmen Brian May, Craig Murree and Geoff Paulsen will form the nucleus of the Queensland team that is chasing back-to-back titles for the first time.
The team also contains previous Queensland Country selections in the experienced pairing of Darren Frakes and Paul Toohey and pace bowler Kris Johnson.
New faces in the squad include Cairns allrounder Thomas Maher, a cousin of XXXX Bulls captain Jimmy Maher, Hervey Bay batsman Josh Bryen and Loganholme pace bowler Jason Stein.
Maher, a physiotherapist, played first grade for University of Queensland two seasons ago before returning to Cairns.
Bryen comes into the Country team after forging an international career in another sport - softball.
Bryen represented Australia in the softball World Cup in South Africa in 2000 while playing in Victoria and was batter of the tournament in the 2001 Australian softball titles.
Stein, a right-arm pace bowler, is a former Queensland Academy of Sport scholar who played five seasons of first grade with Norths and represented Queensland at Under-19 level.
The QAS Regional Program has produced two players for the titles in the form of Toowoomba duo Reimers and Glass.
The team will be coached by last year's championship coach Richard McInness and Central Queensland Regional Cricket Manager Vic Williams.
The Australian titles will be held in Bundaberg from January 5 to 16, the fourth time they have been staged in Queensland.
The championships will include a one-day match between the XXXX Queensland Bulls and the Australian Country team on Sunday, January 12.
2002-03 Queensland Country Team: David Else (Toowoomba, capt) Steven Baker (Townsville, wk), Josh Bryen (Hervey Bay), Darren Frakes (Townsville), Cameron Glass (Toowoomba), Kris Johnson (Bundaberg), Thomas Maher (Cairns), Brian May (Ipswich), Craig Murree (Bundaberg), Geoff Paulsen (Beaudesert), Peter Reimers (Toowoomba), Jason Stein (Beenleigh/Logan), Paul Toohey (Toowoomba). Richard McInnes (Coach), Vic Williams (Coach), Bob Dieckmann (Manager).