Magpie zeros in on Ipswich
MAT Cameron knows Ipswich well.
Cameron has won several Ipswich Rugby League titles with Brothers, played for the Ipswich Diggers and Queensland Cup for the Ipswich Jets.
But on Sunday, he'll be hoping to plot the Jets' downfall for Souths Logan in their Queensland Cup clash at Davies Park.
Cameron was set to call time on his career following last year's IRL grand final success with Brothers.
But a call from Souths Logan assistant coach Darren Smith, who Cameron played under at Easts in 2009, tempted the 32-year-old to change his mind.
"We're not winning a lot of games but we're hanging in there," said Cameron, who lives at Redland Bay.
"I'm enjoying it still.
"It's a lot closer to home (than Ipswich) because we train at Mt Gravatt.
"It's a really good club and a good bunch of guys."
Last year the Australian Rugby League banned dual registration between NSW-based NRL clubs and Queensland Cup teams.
It hit the 2008 Queensland Cup premiers, who were a feeder club for the Canberra Raiders, hard.
The ruling is to be reviewed but in the meantime Cameron has been drafted into help the inexperienced squad.
"Hopefully we can learn how to win again," he said. "We get in front in games but we've got to learn to play for 80 minutes.
"I don't get too frustrated. I'm just trying to help out the young fellas. Most of them are only 21 or 22. It's a pretty good squad.
"We're lacking a bit of NRL experience, which has hurt us a bit. Hopefully Canberra get back on board."
If the dual registration rule isn't changed, Cameron sees little prospect of success for Queensland Cup clubs that lack affiliation with an NRL club.
"If you have a look at the bottom two teams, it's us and the Sunshine Coast - the two teams with no NRL affiliation," Cameron said.
"You don't need nine or 10 players (from an NRL club) but one or two or three makes a big difference."
It could spell bad news for Ipswich, with the Gold Coast Titans severing their feeder club relationship with the Jets at the end of this season.
Given their circumstances, Cameron is proud of the way his team mixed it with more highly-regarded teams this season. "We're still competitive," he said.
Cameron is definite this will be his last season playing but hopes to remain involved with the Magpies in some capacity next year.
"The body's starting to hurt a bit," he admitted.
"Recovery time is slower and getting back into training after a game comes around pretty quick."
Despite that, Cameron has been happy with his form, starting in the front row, after a slow start to the season.
He is looking forward to catching up with some old friends on Sunday, hopefully after contributing to their defeat.
"I haven't played them since I was at Easts but I still know a lot of guys there," Cameron said.
"They're a good side. They'll be strong up the middle and have Michael Fisher at dummy half, who is a smart player.
"BL (five-eighth Brendon Lindsay) will be steering them around and they've got good forwards, with Lorenzo Maafu.
"We've got to be at our best."