At The End Of The Day: Western rivalry is one to savour

SOAPBOX: This weekend's Western cluster matches have sparked the annual debate ... which Group is the superior competition?
SOAPBOX: This weekend's Western cluster matches have sparked the annual debate ... which Group is the superior competition?

Derrick Hoe for PM. 

Apparently it’s great to be green?

Who knows.

What we do know, though, is it doesn’t matter where you’re from, the Group 10 versus Group 11 debate is real … so, ahead of this weekend’s Western trials at Bathurst, let’s tackle it.

Group 10 or Group 11, who ya got?

Group 11

By NICK GUTHRIE

They mustn’t have shoulders in Group 11, the best players are in Group 10, Glen Willow is better than Apex, and so on, and so on, and so on.

When it comes to the Group 11-Group 10 rivalry, I’ve heard it all.

But now, less than a week out from a clash between the two sides at Bathurst all that chat has started again.

And I just want to draw you all to a quote from Group 11 chairman Derrick Hoe after last season’s grand final.

"I hope other Groups see how good we are. I think Group 11, at the moment, I reckon we’re on top. I can’t say enough. I love Group 11."

I totally agree. For pure footy, pure entertainment and pure enjoyment, you can’t go past Group 11 rugby league.

Dubbo CYMS is obviously the benchmark and the weekend’s Challenge Cup win at Newcastle proved the Fishies are genuinely one of the best club sides in the state. As a unit that plays for each other and a club that gets the best out if its players, its unmatched in the western region.

But it’s not just about the Fishies. Far from it. Group 11 features more small towns than Group 10 and that’s something that makes it special.

The support from the grounds in Nyngan, Wellington, Narromine and Forbes is amazing and the same goes for Parkes. There’s no better place when the Spacemen are flying.

There’s passion here. True passion from communities and that spreads onto the field as well. Whether it’s a regular round match on a Sunday arvo or a representative side like the ones which play this weekend, there’s unity, passion, and a burning desire to win. You can’t coach that and you can’t attract that from the NRL or Sydney competitions no matter how players you drag over the mountains.

Combine that with some of the running personal battles in Group 11 (Goldsmith-Kavanagh anyone?), some of the electric performances you see in attack from a whole host of naturally gifted players and you’ve got guaranteed entertainment every week no matter what game you’re watching.

EAST VERSUS WEST: Wade Kavanagh and (insert) Reece Goldsmith enjoy a massive rivarly in Group 11 while Tom Satterthwaite is the best finisher in either premiership.

EAST VERSUS WEST: Wade Kavanagh and (insert) Reece Goldsmith enjoy a massive rivarly in Group 11 while Tom Satterthwaite is the best finisher in either premiership.

The truly best thing, however, is we can have this argument. The Western Rams region is lucky to have two of the best competitions in bush footy.

Group 10

By NICK McGRATH

Group 10 or Group 11 ... which is better?

It's a tough ask.

It'd be pretty rough to sit here and rattle off how Group 10 has more teams, more former NRL players, better grounds - two of which will host NRL games in the next month - is generally more competitive (seriously, try and pick a winner) or how Group 10 is developing into one of the premier competitions in regional NSW, let alone Western, on the back of an incredible run by those in green and gold and the never ending quest by other clubs to try and stop the CYMS juggernaut.

Anything else?

Oh, and Group 10’s girls just completed the inaugural Western Women’s Rugby League double, knocking off Group 11 in both opens and under 18s deciders.

It’d be rough for me to bring any of that up. So I won't.

Let’s tread down a different path.

The fact the competitions are different, very different, makes the Group 10 and Group 11 rivalry one to savour.

Bottom line is, in my mind, Group 10 is expected to win.

But as strong as Group 10 is, it seems like forever since the blue and whites have managed to get one over Group 11.

In fact, the last time Group 10 won one of these games was 2014.

A competition with one big centre and a host of smaller, proud towns that thrives on playing for each other, turns out Group 11 is far from easybeats.

If you score 28 points, invariably the Group 11 boys will back themselves to score 30 – that’s just how they play their footy.

It’s a unique competition where shoulders are redundant, but pride is everything.

And that gets them a long way.

It’s also why Group 10, despite, again, naming a gangbuster squad for Saturday’s Western cluster at Bathurst, should be very wary of the black and reds.

Across the park, you can back each and every member of Group 10’s squad to get the points on their opposite number.

But Group 11’s strength is its work as a collective.

They’ll support in numbers, kick chase with intent and never give Group 10 an inch.

In the end, Group 10 wins the game, but we, the fans, win thanks to the rivalry.

THE TOP FIVE

The best bits during a massive weekend:

Western Rams – Johns Cup champions. What an effort.

Kurt Fearnley – LEGEND.

Jack Keppel – Now a CSU Superboot after that match-winning penalty goal.

Orange Hawks – The real deal of a round two fluke?

Dubbo CYMS – Victory in the Challenge Cup at Newcastle on the weekend.

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