Dean Matthews and his fellow Dubbo Kangaroos coaches have no doubt young gun Josh Jasprizza will make the most of his chance against the Cowra Eagles on Saturday.
Jasprizza, who only turned 18 recently, is the latest colts player to be given a Blowes Clothing Cup first grade debut.
Matthews, Mark Stanford and Rob Bond have shown this season they’re not afraid to throw younger players in the mix and the powerful forward has been backed to do a job at No. 1 Oval.
“We’ve got a few away this week so when picking the team we thought he (Jasprizza) deserved a chance,” Matthews said.
I think age is just a number. These fellas seem to stand up when given a chance.Dean Matthews on his younger players
“He’s been playing well in colts and made the NSW Country colts squad. He only just turned 18 a month or six weeks ago but we’ve got no doubt he’ll go well.
“He’s a big lump of a kid so he’ll be fine."
Jasprizza is one of five players under the age of 23 in Saturday’s lineup with fellow colt Charlie Laurie returning to the front row while the backline features established youngsters Luke Ryan, Hamish Gordon and Billy Sing.
“I think age is just a number. These fellas seem to stand up when given a chance,” Matthews said.
“Kyle Gibson got the three points when he came up from colts before and Angus O’Connor was the same so they’re all stepping up and doing a job well.”
This weekend’s clash marks the halfway point in the season and a win would solidify the Roos’ place in the top four.
The only sides to have beaten Matthews and his men up to this point have been the three sides above the Roos – Orange Emus, Forbes Platypi and Bathurst Bulldogs.
Matthews has been satisfied by what he’s seen so far this year, his constant tinkering proof the side hasn’t settled on a perfect lineup, but he was adamant improvement is needed during the coming weeks and months.
“We’ve probably been unlucky to lose a couple we led at half time in so we’ve got to fix that or there’s no point in turning up,” he said.
“But in saying that Forbes and Bulldogs have shown they deserve to be in the top three and the rest of us are all chasing them.”
Sione Lolohea could return to the centres alongside Sing this week should he overcome an injury with the experienced crowd favourite Jason Coyle a chance to come in should the powerhouse fail a fitness test.
Brad Pugh returns to flyhalf, Hamish Gordon reverts to the wing and Ned Williams has been named captain for the clash with an Eagles side led by former Roo Tim Berry.
Kick off is 3.15pm.
DUBBO KANGAROOS: 1 Johnny Mafiti, 2 Ned Williams ©, 3 Charlie Laurie, 4 Will Chaffey, 5 Josh Jasprizza, 6 Reuben Williams, 7 Eli Kinscher, 8 Sam Clements, 9 Jock Brownhill, 10 Brad Pugh, 11 Hamish Gordon, 12 Sione Lolohea, 13 Billy Sing, 14 Viliame Turuva, 15 Luke Ryan