RETURN: Seagull Joel McCrea will return to the field tomorrow.
RETURN: Seagull Joel McCrea will return to the field tomorrow. Matthew McInerney

Jai and Joel to lead Seagulls for the first time

THE man many claim was Bundaberg Rugby League's unofficial Player of the Year last season will finally return to the field tomorrow.

Joel McCrea has been named at hooker for Hervey Bay Seagulls' first home game of the year.

It marks his first game since the season-ending blockbuster against Waves Tigers. An incident during the game resulted in a five-match suspension, which rubbed the veteran out of the grand final and the first two games this year.

It will be the first time Seagulls coach Jai Ingram plays alongside McCrea.

Their friendship goes back to when Ingram and McCrea both lived in Takura.

Ingram, then in Year 7, rode the bus to school with McCrea, who was then a talented footballer in his final year of high school.

"It's great to finally get to play alongside him,” Ingram said. "We've always been good mates. I got to know him back then so he was one of the first guys I knew when I decided to come back.”

Their paths crossed again at Townsville when both were involved with the North Queensland Cowboys.

McCrea said it was good to play alongside someone as experienced as Ingram.

"I've known him for a long time. We were actually catching up before and we're both looking forward to it.”

The Seagulls face Isis Devils at 3pm tomorrow. Ingram called for Hervey Bay to show its support.



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