Team players at top of coach's wish list

GROUP 10 under 18s coach Nick Lander has one message for potential players ahead of Saturday's Orange CYMS Knockout - if you’re a selfish player, you won’t get a Group jersey.

“I’m very big on making sure the guys I pick can play as a team,” Lander said.

“A champion team will always beat a team of champions.”

Upwards of 150 under 18 players, from eight clubs, will be vying for the knockout title and group selection on Saturday at Norton Park.

The Oberon Tigers will not compete due to lack of player numbers, while the Blayney Bears are playing a trial against the Warilla Gorillas in Wollongong.

All the other teams will be taking part,” CYMS president Ray Agland said.

“It’ll be a pretty hotly contested competition. Panthers are always strong, as are Cowra. 

“The knockout format is always difficult, playing three or four games a day, but that’s the beauty of it. It gives all the coaches a good chance to check out any new players and trial everyone properly.”

The knockout is the main selection process for the Group 10 team, and Lander said every position was wide open.

“There’s no names down, none penciled in,” he said.

“Players need to put their best foot forward tomorrow, and they’ll get a look in. 

“I had 12 Western Rams reps, and three NSW Country reps in my [Group 10] 16s team last year. The 18s went well and I’m sure a few are left over who can play again. 

“But they need to show up and play well to be considered, just like everyone else. We need size in our forward pack, but I like skilful players too. Guys with the ability to use their feet and offload in the forwards are priceless.”

Despite Blayney not competing, the Bear cubs will still be eligible to wear sky blue and white in the Western Division cluster on May 10.

“I think we’re in for a couple of difficult decisions,” Lander said.

“There are a couple of good Blayney kids I had in my [Group 10] 16s team last year. But if someone else stands up in the knockout, it’ll be tough to decide who takes the spot.

“There is room to chop and change, even after the first couple of rounds.”

The knockout kicks off at 10am at Norton Park, with the grand final starting at 2pm.

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