CENTRAL West goes into this weekend’s 2014 NSW Country Colts Championship with what coach John Hamilton says is a “very mobile, very quick” squad.
The Blue Bulls colts begin their tier one Rowlands Cup campaign, played at Mudgee’s Glen Willow Sporting Complex, with a blockbuster clash with Far North Coast on Saturday.
Despite knowing little about their opposition, Hamilton and fellow coach Steve Hamson have designed a game plan to utilise their squad’s best attributes.
“We don’t know what they’ll be like, and we’re preparing based on their ability in juniors,” Hamilton said.
“Normally they’re big and skillful in juniors, so we’ll prepare as though their colts sides play that way too.
“We don’t have a big team this year, but we’re very mobile and very quick. We’ll use our speed this weekend, and our game plan will focus on our strengths.”
The set piece has been a problem for Central West in recent years, both in colts and opens, but Hamilton said this year his team’s scrum will match it with the best, and will be vital to his team’s chances.
“Central West has always struggled a bit finding enough quality front rowers,” Hamilton explained.
“But our starting front row is as good as anyone’s. Brent Braithwaite played NSW Country and Jake Cutler is at his level as well I think, so we won’t get pushed around.”
The Blue Bulls colts squad has changed dramatically over the selection process, with several players unable to attend the original trials.
“It’s hard to cut some of the guys sometimes,” Hamilton said.
“But some guys couldn’t trial or train originally, but were available and we had to give them a chance to get picked. For example, we had seven or eight back-rowers to fill four or five spots. But we’ve got our 25 guys, and we’re confident in them and ready to go.”
Central West plays Far North Coast in tier one, to progress to the Rowlands Cup final on Sunday, against the winner of Newcastle-Hunter and Central Coast, while the two losers will play in a play-off for third.
Central North, Illawarra, Mid North Coast and New England play off in the same format for the tier two, NRMA Shield.
CENTRAL WEST COLTS: 1 Brenton Braithwaite, 2 Rick Scott, 3 Jake Cutler, 4 Jaymen Carter, 5 Ben Wright, 6 Khaleb Whitehurst, 7 Billy Freeman, 8 Daryen Hazell, 9 James Dean, 10 Adam Perri, 11 Tom Fisher, 12 Riley Byrne, 13 Joe Crawford, 14 Terry Brown, 15 Lachlan Harris, 16 Jack Marchinton, 17 Tom Nell, 18 Scott Smith, 19 Jayden Brown, 20 Brad Collins, 21 Jake Johnston, 22 Marcus Burrell, 23 Karl Oliver, 24 Julian Gaal, 25 Harry Taberner.