THE GYG Latin Heat have made two late changes for tonight’s clash with the Philippines on the Gold Coast after losing Colombian interchange forward Diego Lopez Pinto to a rib injury.
Heat assistant coach Ernie Tobar, born in Chile, will lace up the boots take Lopez Pinto’s place on the bench, while Uruguayan forward Michael Falcon has been added as an emergency reserve.
Tobar will add experience and direction to the Heat in their international debut, being a former Penrith junior representative and now an assistant with the Panthers’ Under 17 development squad.
Like many in the Latin Heat side, he arrived in Australia amid political turmoil and persecution of his family in his homeland.
As such, the theme of tonight’s game – raising money for Amnesty International’s work in Latin America and victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines – is dear to his heart.
Added as extra cover to the squad, Falcon also boasts a rugby league background, having played juniors for the famous Valleys Diehards after moving to Australia from his hometown of Rivera at age 11.
Falcon has an interesting story to tell, now known on the local club scene as rapper Royal El Latino, after learning to speak English through listening to music.
Kick-off in tonight’s game at Runaway Bay’s Bycroft Oval is at 7pm Queensland time, with Latino drummers performing for 15 minutes before kick-off.
Entry to the game is via gold donation for charity only.
For those outside South East Queensland, a live webcast will be shown on http://latinheatrl.com courtesy of sponsors Guzman y Gomez Mexican Taquerias and Gringo TV & Magazine.
A supporter bus for the game will depart adjacent to Brisbane’s Bowen Hills train station at 4pm sharp on Saturday, returning from Runaway Bay at 9.30pm (arriving Brisbane 10.30pm).
GUZMAN Y GOMEZ LATIN HEAT RUGBY LEAGUE
1Carlos ASTORGA GONZALEZ(CHILE, Lives Ultimo NSW)
2Fernando VILLEGAS(COLOMBIA, Lives Annerley QLD)
3Luis GUILLERMO FHON(PERU, Lives Campbelltown NSW)
4Mayer FLAMENCO(PANAMA/EL SALVADOR/CHILE, Lives Hinchinbrook, NSW)
5Diego SANTIAGO GIL VEJERANO(COLOMBIA, Lives Kelvin Grove QLD)
6Daniel SARMIENTO(COLOMBIA, Lives Petrie QLD)
7Marco TULIO PEREIRA(EL SALVADOR/HONDURAS, Lives Tarragindi QLD)
8Sebastian MAYA JIMENEZ(COLOMBIA, Lives Spring Hill QLD)
9Jye SOMMERS(PERU, Lives Corrimal NSW)
10Jaden LAING(CHILE, Lives Campbelltown NSW)
11Jonathan ESPINOZA ©(NICARAGUA/CHILE, Lives Greenslopes QLD)
12Juan DAVID ESPINAL(COLOMBIA, Lives Wishart QLD)
13Josh GADEA HELLYER(URUGUAY, Lives Liverpool NSW)
14Ernie TOBAR(CHILE, Lives Richmond NSW)
15Walter ORELLANA(EL SALVADOR, Lives Redbank QLD)
16Jose ORELLANA(EL SALVADOR, Lives Springfield Lakes QLD)
17Alex MORENO(COLOMBIA, Lives Petire QLD)
18Kristofer VIEIRA(URUGUAY, Lives Plumpton NSW)
19Michael FALCON(URUGUAY, Lives Bracken Ridge QLD)
Coach: Robert Burgin
Assistant Coaches: Ernie Tobar, Shane Atherton
LeagueSafe: Clint Dolan
Strapper: Jackson Hooper