Group 11 coach Ben Bruce has thrown his support behind the annual Group 10 and Group 11 under 18s derby after his side flexed its muscle in a 28-10 triumph over their eastern rivals on Saturday.
The juniors game is a couple of months after Western's country championship campaigns in both the Andrew Johns and Laurie Daley Cups but Bruce said this game, one his side was terrific throughout, is the ideal springboard for future Rams players.
Tom Phillips would have to be one of those now on the radar of selectors ahead of 2020 after powering the red and blacks to the commanding win over a spirited Group 10 with an impressive man of the match outing up-front.
Bruce said there's plenty of pride in the Group 11 jumper and his under 18s side displayed that at Spooner Oval.
"This under 18s game gives other blokes that don't make those teams to represent their clubs and their group, I think it's a good initiative, for sure," he said.
"It was a really good, tough game for the first 50 minutes.
"Everyone did their job and that got us over the line."
Group 11 led 10-6 at the break and then 16-6 soon after but it wasn't until the final 10 minutes when the hosts really broke away from Group 10.
Our forward pack led the way and didn't take a backward step. The pack got us over the line.Group 11 mentor Ben Bruce.
Aiden Lake scored his second in the piece while Phillips also crossed in the dying stages to help blow Group 10 away late.
Phillips and his front-row partner Jarrod Peachey were tremendous, the Forbes and Wellington bookends drawing praise from Bruce, respectively.
"Our forward pack led the way and didn't take a backward step. The pack got us over the line," he added.
Group 10's left edge, the Blayney connection of Aiden Nunn and Lhiam Burrell proved deadly for the visitors, both scoring tries as their side's best.
- GROUP ELEVEN 28 (Aiden Lake 2, Billy Dukes, Tom Phillips, Harry Leadbitter tries; Tom Toohey 3, Jarrod Peachey goals) def GROUP TEN 10 (Lhiam Burrell, Aiden Nunn tries; Noah Ryan goal)
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