As each season passes, a decision made by the Dubbo Kangaroos club made more than a decade ago is justified further.
It was that time, roughly 11 years ago, when the club started it’s intra-club Walla program for players under the age of seven.
By the time they arrived in the under 13s they were already well-prepared and the sheer amount of numbers saw the club create two sides in each division.
A Red side, predominantly for those in their first year of that age group, and a Blue outfit, for those returning or older.
It not only creates continuity and consistency, it has developed huge numbers across the club, a seemingly endless list of representative players, and a number of titles.
That number of title wins could grow even further this weekend.
Apex Oval will play host to this weekend’s Central West Junior Rugby Union (CWJRU) major and minor semi-finals and at least one Dubbo side will be in each age group.
The Dubbo Kangaroos Junior Rugby Club hosts the first round of finals after winning this season’s CWJRU Club Championship.
The under 13s and under 15s Blue outfits will play in major semi-finals while the under 15s Red and under 17s Red will feature in the minor semis.
“It’s taken a lot of work to get these numbers and it all starts in under 7s and goes up,” Dubbo Kangaroos Junior Rugby Club president Jason Blake said.
“The Walla program was not just done for carnivals, but to give us a breeding ground and those players then feed into 13s, and 15s and then 17s.
“We’ve got two teams in just about all age groups when other places, even Orange, sometimes only have one.”
Of the four sides in action, the Roos Blue 13s side heads in with the most imposing record.
Finishing the year as minor premiers, the Jone Raidaveta-coached side lost just twice during the regular season and will take on Mudgee Blue in Saturday’s major semi.
“There’s a lot of talent there,” Blake said.
“There was 25 players there so the way the coaches have managed that is a credit to them.
“It’s a juggling act to rotate them and they’ve done that but also maintained consistency and won games throughout the year.”
The Blue side in the 15s finished second and takes on minor premiers Orange City Green in the major semi in that age group while the third-placed Red outfit meets Mudgee in the do-or-die minor semi.
“James Austin’s 15s Red side is extremely good. Last year they went through (the under 13s) undefeated but got rolled in the grand final, which was a shock,” Blake said.
“Red sides are predominantly younger and don’t normally get to finals but they finished third and and I wouldn’t be surprised if they went further than this weekend.
“Justin Smith’s Blue side has only had a couple of losses but has had a lot of injuries and hopefully some players will be back this weekend.”
Blake coaches the 17s Red side which will meet Orange Emus in that age group’s minor semi.
“At the start of the year we sat the boys down and let them tell us what they wanted out of the season,” Blake said of his side.
“It wasn’t just about winning, it was about camaraderie and they wanted to up-skill. But they wanted to make the semis and they’re a predominantly younger team but they’d done it and ticked that box.
“It’s a great achievement.”
The thought of four titles for the Dubbo club is “special” but Blake and his fellow coaches aren’t getting too far ahead of themselves.
They already know there’s been a huge amount of success has been achieved this season and it will take a massive effort from everyone to get each of the four sides to play on grand final day.
One thing helping each of the sides in that bid is the home ground advantage this weekend.
“It’s a boost to be playing at Apex Oval, and we get to showcase what I think is the best facility in the zone, outside of Glen Willow if we got to play there,” he said.
CWJRU MAJOR AND MINOR SEMIS
Apex Oval, Saturday.
Minor semi-final: Forbes v Cowra/Canowindra
Major semi-final: Dubbo Roos Blue v Mudgee
Minor semi-final: Roos Red v Mudgee
Major semi-final: Orange City v Dubbo Roos Blue
Minor semi-final: Orange Emus v Dubbo Roos Red
Major semi-final: Narromine v Mudgee