The Blues prepare for history-making first Shield game in Mackay

“We don’t really know what to expect. But it’s a new challenge”: Nic Maddinson of the Blues. Photo: Getty Images The NSW Blues will make history on Sunday as they take on the Queensland Bulls in Mackay, the first time a Shield game will be held in the regional town.

Newly appointed captain Nic Maddinson said the Mackay pitch was an unknown prospect, which makes the game that much more exciting.

“We don’t really know what to expect,” he said. “But it’s a new challenge.”

Maddinson has taken over the captaincy after Moises Henriques was ruled out with an injury to his left calf. The 23-year old is coming off a century against the Bulls in their last game and is relishing the chance to lead the team out for the first time.

“Noticing how the game develops and then being the one in charge is a new challenge, but one I’m looking forward to,” he said.

Daniel Hughes has been called up for the match after making a staggering 300 in the Futures League. Hughes said it was a “very good feeling” to be back in the team.

“I’m very excited to get up to Queensland and get my spot,” he said. “It’s nice to know that I’ve earned my way back in the team just on my runs, and I’m very excited and can’t wait to get up there.”

Hughes is the leading run scorer in Grade cricket, which led to his recall to the first team. Despite scoring 300, he doesn’t think he’s at his best form just yet.

“I won’t say I’m hitting the ball that well,” he said. “But I’m just mentally in a good spot. I just don’t want to get out. It’s not like I’m going out there and dominating the bowling. I’m just going out there and wanting to bat long periods of time and not wanting to get out.”

Maddinson said Hughes’ had deserved his call up as he “had scored a lot of big scores” in the Futures League and in Grade cricket.

“It’s good to see Hughesy really put his hand up,” he said. “Apart from making a hundred, he went on to make three hundred, and I guess at the end of the day that’s what you’re looking for when you’re trying to make a Shield team.”

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