CENTRAL West coach Matt McRobert believes the 2014 Blue Bulls are shaping up as the most talented squad he has seen in three years at the helm of the region’s representative side.
The Blue Bulls began preparations for the 2014 country championship in Mudgee on March 29-30 with a five-tries-to-three trial victory over the Canberra Royals.
Set to tackle the Queanbeyan Whites in Cowra on Saturday, McRobert said the squad’s second outing would better outline just how he’d use the best players from the Blowes Clothing Cup throughout the upcoming championship.
“At the moment we’re very happy with this year’s squad,” McRobert said.
“Numbers at training have been excellent ... we have every reason to be optimistic about our chances.”
And given the 33-man squad named to take on Queenbeyan on Saturday, McRobert and his team of coaches have every right to be.
With every side set to compete in the 2014 Blowes Clothing Cup represented, the depth on show at Cowra will be arguably the strongest in McRobert’s time with the Blue Bulls.
For the first time, Orange City’s most consistent player throughout two undefeated premiership runs, Mesui Lemoto, will trial, while Bathurst Bulldogs prodigal son Hayden Tidswell adds plenty of power in the back row.
Mudgee’s Dave Jessiman provides equal grunt for the Blue Bulls pack, while CSU Orange flyer Jack Garrad and Parkes’ Marika Korivui add plenty of speed.
Tom Hollis, Mahe Fangupo, Jonny Rathbone and Lemoto will jostle for the pivot positions.
“At the moment we have a few tough selections to make, we’ll have to let go of a number of talented players,” McRobert said, with the Blue Bulls set to take 25-men to the championship.
“I believe we’ve got the best players from just about every club. We’re very happy with the turnout and the quality. This is the most talented group, I think, we’ve had in the three years I’ve been involved with the squad.”
With a home country championship looming, McRobert is confident of a strong campaign.
“We don’t know what we’re up against, that’s the beauty of the championship in many ways,” he added.
“So all we can do is look after our own backyard. Last Saturday was a good starting point and I’m confident we can then improve on that again this weekend.”
The Blue Bulls tackle the Queenbeyan Whites on Saturday at Cowra from 3pm.
The Central West colts will also trial from 1pm.
CENTRAL WEST: Chris Plunkett, Peter Nau, Josh Tremain, Amoni Vea, Dan Ryan, Israel Symington, Hayden Tidswell, Duncan Young, Hugh Medway, Lachie McCutcheon, Josh Sinisa, Tom Hollis, Mahe Fangupo, Jack Garrad, Mesui Lemoto, Tom Joseph, Scott Burgess, Phil Tonkin, Harry Collins, Ned Williams, George Quigley, Dave Jessiman, Brad Pugh, Ben Ryan, Adam Meijklejohn, John Rathbone, Simon Flynn, Troy Jeffs, Marika Korivui, Tim Alison, Brad James, Jack Hammond, Filisone Pauta.