When the Group 11 committee met on Sunday, it had to make a decision in regards to choosing sides for this month’s matches against Group 10.
Pick the best players in the competition in the senior side or make the under 23s the priority?
“That’s what I was asked,” under 23s coach Col Wright said.
“Do you want the best in 23s or in the seniors? But it’s got to be 23s. Then you put anything left in the senior side.”
The reason for that is players in the under 23s side are playing for a spot in the Western Rams squad which will play in this season’s country championship.
Western coach Tim Ryan has the bulk of that side already in his head after running a pre-season program of training sessions and trial matches.
But some spots in the final squad are still up for grabs and getting Group 11 players in those places is Wright’s priority in the lead up to the games at Bathurst on April 21.
“They’ve had the (Western) squad together for a couple of months already so some of the boys are in that already,” Wright said, referring to the likes of Alex Bonham, Sam Simmons, Lee Price and Mitch Bourke.
“But the other fellas, the ones who aren’t in the squad, can now push some others out.”
Dubbo CYMS is the most well-represented club in the Group 11 squad, contributing eight of the 17 players.
Most of them are in contention for a Rams spot as well with Bonham, Price, Hamish Astill and off-season recruits Jesse Wighton, Billy Sing and Corey Drew already around Ryan’s squad.
Nyngan’s Sam Simmons, named at fullback for Group 11, is another who seems certain to be in the Rams squad but the game against Group 10 will give the likes of exciting Forbes youngster Farren Lamb and Macquarie’s Wade Peachey a chance to shine.
The Group 10 squads for the matches at Bathurst are expected to be named later this week and while making Western is the goal, Group 11 has a proud recent record to defend when it comes to playing its rivals.
“For these young men, a lot of them will want to go further and will have aspirations to make it in the NRL,” Nyngan-based Wright said.
A lot of them will want to go further and will have aspirations to make it in the NRL.Col Wright on the 23s squad
“But it (playing Group 10) is a big thing. We won seniors two years ago and won 23s in a tight one last year and if we could get all four at Bathurst that would be great. That’s a big ask but it’s there for us.”
Group 10 will host Group 11 later this month and pride will go on the line in league tag, under 18s, under 23s and seniors.
Seniors is back on the agenda despite there being no higher pathway after 23s and Wright felt that was a positive.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are. I know I was in my thirties and I still wanted to play rep,” Wright said.
“You want to play to the best of your ability and you want to put yourself out there even when you’re older.
“That’s just part of being a sportsman.”
The Group 11 board has made representative footy a priority this season with any player who pulls out of the squads to miss one club game, unless they have documentation which gives a worthy reason.
The Group 11 squads will train at Narromine this Sunday and Wright said his talented side won’t need a lot of coaching.
“It’s more about getting them to have the right attitude on game day,” he said.
GROUP 11 SQUADS
SENIORS: 1 Brad Pickering (CYMS), 2 John Grey (CYMS), 3 Jyie Chapman (CYMS), 4 Sam Coe (Macquarie), 5 Aidan Ryan (Wellington), 6 Travis Lowe (Narromine), 7 Tyrone Walsh (Narromine), 8 Lincoln Kavanagh (CYMS), 9 Wes Middleton (Narromine), 10 Jarryn Powyer (CYMS), 11 Justin Toomey-White (Wellington), 12 Corey Cox (CYMS), 13 Jake Grace (Forbes), 14 Will Lousick (Wellington), 15 Jordan Pope (Parkes), 16 Colt Tairua (Macquarie), 17 Jack Medlyn (Parkes). Coach: Justin Toomey-White
UNDER 23s: 1 Sam Simmons (Nyngan), 2 Corey Drew (CYMS), 3 Jesse Wighton (CYMS), 4 Billy Sing (CYMS), 5 Farren Lamb (Forbes), 6 Alex Bonham (CYMS), 7 Mitch Bourke (Forbes), 8 Lee Price (CYMS), 9 Hamish Astill (CYMS), 10 Jay Slavin (Parkes), 11 Ben Maguire (Forbes), 12 Jordan Reynolds (CYMS), 13 James Fisk (Narromine), 14 Joe Dwyer (Parkes), 15 Wade Peachey (Macquarie), 16 Ned Dawson (Nyngan), 17 Bayden Searle (CYMS). Coach: Col Wright
UNDER 18s: 1 Aidan Lake (CYMS), 2 Tristan Thompson (Wellington), 3 Ben Davis (Parkes), 4 Christian Marchant (Forbes), 5 Aaron Kitch (Wellington), 6 Toby Hurford (Forbes), 7 Jordi Madden (CYMS), 8 Jarrod Peachey (CYMS), 9 Sullivan Haycock (CYMS), 10 Blaine Gordon (Macquarie), 11 Haydn Raumati (Forbes), 12 Kalolo Uele (Narromine), 13 Ben Lovett (Parkes), 14 Harry Blake (CYMS), 15 Cooper Neilson (Parkes), 16 Brendan Shillingsworth (Macquarie), 17 James Darney (Wellington). Coach: Byron Warren
LEAGUE TAG: 1 India Draper (Parkes), 2 Cassandra Ward (Parkes), 3 Tyuanna Goolagong (Parkes), 4 Erin Sutherland (Macquarie), 5 Dee Smith (Macquarie), 6 Kyra Sutcliffe (Macquarie), 7 Jacana Powell (Narromine), 8 Lakeisha Hull (Narromine), 9 Majayda Darcy (CYMS), 10 Larissa Kennedy (Narromine), 11 Maddison Chapman (CYMS), 12 Ashleigh Ward (Narromine), 13 Lily Spackman (Macquarie), 14 Litisha Boney (Westside), 15 Tarlee Roberts (Westside). Coach: Joe Spicer