Western Zone coach Matt Crawley believes the three western players in the NSW Country side are more than capable of pushing for higher honours at this week’s Australian Country Championships in Canberra.
Dubbo captain Tim Cox will be joined by Parkes’ Pat Rosser and Cowra’s teenage quick Joe Kershaw in the NSW Country side and Crawley said Rosser, who made Australian Country last season, and Cox will definitely be in the selectors’ minds when it comes to choosing the national country side this time around.
“I really wouldn’t be surprised if we had a couple in there,” he said. “Pat was obviously there last year and Tim has been exceptional when he goes away with the side and I really think Joe has been at the top of his game too.”
After years of Western Zone players struggling to break into the NSW Country side Crawley said a change in the mindset of local teams and selectors recognising the talent out west has led to a change.
“We’ve got a bit of a reputation now for producing quality cricketers now so the Western Zone has got more respect,” he said. “And with blokes like Pat and Tim returning to the area with Sydney grade cricket experience we’ve got some real experience here and it’s lifted the standard at the Western Zone trials.”
While western didn’t pick up a win during this season’s NSW Country Championships the form of Rosser, Cox and Kershaw still saw them chosen and Crawley said it was especially pleasing to see the selectors trusting young players like Kershaw, who will link up with Sydney University after the carnival, to perform at the highest level.
The country carnival runs for a week from Tuesday, with NSW Country opening its account with a match against Victoria Country followed by clashes with Western Australia, South Australia, East Asia Pacific and then Queensland and after winning the last two national championships, Crawley expects NSW to be towards the top of the table again.