Tony Woolnough took somewhat of a step back from his Western Rams coaching duties this year but in 2024 he will return to mentor the next generation of young footballers.
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Woolnough is back as Western Rams under 16s coach for 2024 and has been busy at work already, picking a 40-player squad for the summer ahead of the Andrew Johns Cup.
No stranger to coaching the up-and-coming crop of Western talent, Woolnough admitted he is looking forward to the next few months.
"We've had the trials and hopefully we can put a good side together," he said.
The Warren-based mentor wasn't all too far from the Rams set-up at the beginning of 2023 acting as an assistant coach to Shane Rodney.
"He is a very smart man and I learned a bit from him," Woolnough said.
"I've still got the coaching bug so I'm back to have another go."
But before they play their games in early February 2024, the 40-man squad will get together in early November at Bathurst before beginning a series of training and satellite sessions.
From there, an in-house trial will take place to trim the squad down before the final squad for the competition is selected in early 2024.
Five players from Dubbo were selected in the initial 40-man squad with Cooper Townsend (St John's), Lucas Large (St John's), Nate Ferrari (St John's), Kobie Couley (South Dubbo) and Tyreike Powell (South Dubbo) picked.
Woolnough and the rest of his coaching staff will have the task of bringing all 40 players together over the next month or so, with the group coming from clubs all over the region.
Places like Canowindra, Coonabarbran, Parkes, Narromine and Lithgow also have players in the squad as do Orange and Bathurst.
While he may not know too much about the group at the moment, Woolnough said he has heard good things from others.
"I haven't actually had a look as to where they are from," he said.
"We just watched the trial and picked the kids who stood out, hopefully, we've picked the right ones.
"I've heard about a bit of talent in there but we will just have to wait and see."
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