A talented bunch of Group 11 youngsters will be going “all out attack” at this weekend’s Southern Zone Country Rugby League (CRL) under 14 and under 15 Championships.
Dubbo’s Apex Oval grounds will play host to the southern country titles starting from Saturday morning, with the finals to be played on Sunday afternoon.
Group 11 is one of 10 sides competing in both divisions.
The under 15s side is stacked with Dubbo juniors, with Shawn Townsend from the St John’s club taking on the coach’s role.
The side is stacked with talent, with the strong Dubbo core well-supported by a powerful Red Bend College presence.
And Townsend isn’t going to keep them shackled at all.
“We’ll be all out attack,” Townsend said.
“I’ll let them express themselves and throw the ball around. There’s good forwards and the front-rowers are real goers so we’ll go out there and mix it up.”
The country championships are being held later in the season compared to previous years, but the process for Group 11 hasn’t changed at all.
The trials were still held in April and there has been a number of training sessions and trials since then.
“We’re feeling pretty confident,” Townsend said.
“It’s one of the first times we’ve had just about the full squad that we picked. There’s normally always a lot of injuries but we’ve got kids who have played a lot of good football.”
The other positive thing is the desire and determination of the players.
“Your club stuff can’t compare to this,” Townsend added.
“There you’ve got about five kids who really want to be there, another five or six who are just mucking around, and another five or six who are just there.
“But these boys have trialled and want to be here and go on with it.
“They want to play Western or get a contract somewhere. These kids want to progress and they want to learn and they want to listen.”
That not only makes a positive playing group, it has a real effect on the coaching staff as well.
“I enjoy it. These kids are like sponges,” Townsend said.
“I’m getting as much out of this as they are.”
The Group 11 sides both open their campaigns against Group 6, based in western Sydney, on Saturday morning.
The 18-man under 15s squad features 10 Dubbo-based players. Zac Williams, Braye Porter, Lachlan Townsend, Fletcher Haycock, and Riley Wake will represent St John’s, while South Dubbo trio Jye Day, Aston Warwick, and Liam Deaves are in the squad, alongside Dubbo City Magpies pair Macauley Ryan and Raymond Bowden.
“We’re pretty lucky because the Dubbo sides are strong in that age group so there’s some real depth,” Townsend said.
The Wayne Hill-coached under 14s side features Bailey Lacrosse, William Malloy, Bradley Stanford, Nosa Obaseki, and Harry Stimpson from St John’s, plus Broden Konz of Dubbo City.
Games start 9am.