PREPARATIONS are in full swing to welcome Queensland sporting royalty to Ipswich on Sunday when the Queensland Bulls Masters charity cricket team take on an Ipswich Cricket Invitational XI.
Queensland Rail Bulls Masters managing director Jimmy Maher, who also represented Australia in limited overs cricket, said while all of the former Queensland cricket stars were looking forward to the game, it was a rugby league star who was most excited.
Fresh from a rugby league season that saw him captain Australia, Queensland and the Melbourne Storm to ultimate glory, Cameron Smith is now preparing to don the pads to test his cricketing prowess.
"I spoke to Cameron yesterday afternoon and he's keen as mustard, he can't wait," Maher said.
"He wanted me to give him one of my old Grey Nicholls bats I used when I played.
"I'm a Bulldogs supporter so I said he could have a bat but I was going to write 'Go Bulldogs' on the back before I gave it to him.
"He said he would just need time to take the bat into the sander to get it taken off before Sunday."
Smith will join a range of Queensland cricket stars including Ian Healy, Michael Kasprowicz, Carl Rackemann, Jeff Thomson, and former England test batsman Graeme Hick.
In addition, former Ipswich products Andy Bichel and Greg Ritchie will play while Dirk Tazelaar will participate in fundraising events but is unavailable for the T20 fixture.
As well as the T20 match at Baxter Oval, Ipswich residents will also have plenty of other opportunities to mingle with the team throughout the tour.
"The visit is not just about cricket, we conduct sport clinics at schools, visit hospitals and aged care facilities, host a sportsman's dinner, a charity bowls day, and make staff visits for our sponsors such as Queensland Rail and Suncorp, as well," Maher said.
"Cricket was very good to all of us and we just want to do our bit and give something back to the community, and hopefully encourage kids to stay fit and active as they grow up."
People are encouraged to come along to Swifts Sports Club from 5pm this Friday and have a fun game of barefoot bowls with Jimmy Maher, Greg Ritchie, Andy Bichel and the rest of the Bulls Masters and the Ipswich players.
Enjoy food and drinks with your game of bowls for just $25 a player or $30 to play with a cricketer.
Book your team by contacting the Club or just turn up at 5pm and register. The barefoot bowls games will be played between 6pm and 9pm and part proceeds will benefit the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.