With the 2013 rugby season rapidly approaching, some of the region’s most talented young players have already been working hard on the training paddock to get them ready.
The Western Region Junior Gold program contains 40 of the brightest prospects and they are in line for high level representative honours.
They were going through a session at Ashwood Park on Sunday, one of their last before they get ready to start their club and school campaigns.
“The Junior Gold program gives the players a massive advantage. They go back to their clubs and schools well prepared for the season ahead,” ARU Western Region development manager Mark DeBrincat said.
“I am very impressed with the level of talent that is coming through this season. From what I’ve seen we are expecting to have have some players making ISA through schools like Stannies and Kinross and maybe also Country.
“The opportunities are there.”
DeBrincat says one of the major advantages the Wednesday and Sunday sessions afford players is the opportunity to be coached by two men who have reached the peak of their sport.
“They have the opportunity to get quality coaching through former Wallabies James Grant and Marty Roebuck, who are part of the team along with Bulldogs Matt McRobert and Mick Burgess, so they have access to quality coaching,” the development manager said.
“They work on a lot of skills like ruck and mauls, catch and pass, things that will put them in good stead for the coming season.”
The Junior Gold squad will head to the King’s School in Sydney where they will train with three strong Sydney schools before the Central West representative season gets underway. Bathurst is well represented in the 40-strong squad, with St Stannislaus’ College one of the main providers of talent.
“Most of the kids in the squad are from either Stannies or Kinross but we also have others from James Sheahan, St John’s in Dubbo and All Saints’,” DeBrincat said.
“This is the second year of the Junior Gold program in its current form. In the past it was more of an academy program and we didn’t get the best of the school kids but it is now working extremely well.
“The other thing this program has allowed us to do is to bring some kids from Brewarrina in to the Dubbo sessions and we want to try and give more kids from the far west those opportunities.”