There’s few people in the Central West Junior Rugby Union (CWJRU) who are surprised to see Dubbo Roos Blue and Mudgee Wombats Blue in this weekend’s under 13s grand final.
The two sides have been the standouts all year, both losing just two games during the regular season.
The Roos finished the season with the minor premiership, thanks largely to its stunning +405 differential, and then defeated Mudgee in the major semi to earn a spot in the decider.
Mudgee downed Canowindra/Cowra last weekend to earn another shot at the Jone Raidaveta-coached side.
Not only have these two sides been the best all season, they also play a similar type of game. That’s something which could make Saturday clash one of the highlights of grand final day at Forbes.
“We both play open rugby and have got fast backs and very good fullbacks,” Roos team manager Mark O’Donnell said.
“We have very similar gameplans because Phil English, their coach, is also the Central West coach. Four or five of our boys play under him at that level.
“Really, it’s going to come down to who’s not making mistakes in the backline.”
The game will feature some of the most exciting outside backs in the region, with the Roos being led by star fullback Will Cuthill.
Cuthill has been a standout in the central west this season and during the regular season he scored close to 150 more points than any other player in the competition.
Cuthill, who scored 267 points, has averaged more than 17 points a game on his own this season.
“This is his first year of rugby,” O’Donnell said.
“He was picked up through the Western PSSA side, he made that, and then said he wanted to play rugby and being 13 he wanted to play with his mates.
“He’s a sheer athlete. He’s away at state athletics this week and is back on Friday. He’s just fit into our side really well.”
Cuthill scored a double during the 40-27 major semi-final win over Mudgee and the Wombats ran in three times during a period when the Roos fullback was off the field due to a yellow card.
He’s been a revelation this season, but all his teammates have developed greatly as the year has gone on.
The bulk of the side was part of the Roos Red, the younger age side, which won just twice last season.
“We didn’t know how many boys would come back after such a tough year but there was 25,” O’Donnell said.
“It’s a credit to them. They’ve trained their bums off and are now getting the results.
“They’re a great bunch and they’ve been kept well-grounded. They’ve been told about complacency and this being just another game.
“There’s 15 cogs out there that have all got to work together to get the goal.”
Saturday’s grand final between the Roos and Wombats Blue outfits kicks off at 9.30am at Forbes’ Grinsted Oval.