CENTRAL West coach Matt McRobert wants his players to simply make sure they play what is in front of them when they front up to take on Illawarra in the Caldwell Cup on Saturday in Mudgee.
The Blue Bulls will be taking a step up having won the Richardson Shield tier two competition last year to earn their spot, and at this stage the coach wants to keep his options open as to how they attack their opposition.
“In rugby union you do have that sort of Six Nations mentality or the South African approach where you can just kick for territory and play rugby by the numbers,” McRobert says.
“It is simplistic, and it can often be effective.
“But we have earned our spot in the Caldwell Cup by playing a certain way and we have to try and find a good balance when we take on Illawarra.
“We certainly don’t advocate playing running rugby at all costs, and we will show them the respect they deserve.
“One thing we do certainly have to focus on is to limit the number of mistakes, limit the amount of help we give the opposition at every chance. In the trials we managed to cut down those penalties in each game.”
Orange City stars Josh Tremain and Mesui Lemoto will play for the Central West outfit.
A handful of Bathurst players will take their place in the Blue Bulls side with five from the Bulldogs including Chris Plunkett, Hayden Tidswell, Tom Hollis, Tom Joseph and Phil Tonkin.
They are joined by CSU pair Jack Garrad and Hugh Medway.
Parkes has the biggest representation in the team with seven representatives, and the likes of tight-head prop Amoni Vea and Tidswell’s second-row partner Israel Symington in particular will give the Blue Bulls a real physical presence up front.
The idea of being competitive and potentially ending Newcastle’s six year unbeaten run is one motivation for the Central West team but the idea of individual representation at an even higher level could provide some extra spark.
This week’s confirmation that NSW Country would have a side competing in the newly announced National Rugby Championship means that some players could earn themselves a shot with the Cockatoos with a good performance in Mudgee.
“With the advent of professional rugby union the link that had always been there between the Cockatoos and the Waratahs has really closed off,” McRobert said.
“The NRC is long overdue and it means that the huge amount of talent we have out this way will finally be on show again.
“These Country Championship finals matches over the last couple of years have been fantastic games of rugby and the players who are out there should have the opportunity to go further.
“The country areas have always been a nursery for Sydney and Canberra rugby and I’d love to see that become the case again. I’ll be pushing all my players to put their hand up and hopefully earn a shot at playing with the Cockatoos.”
CENTRAL WEST: 1 Chris Plunkett (Bulldogs), 2 Pete Nau (Dubbo), 3 Amoni Vea (Parkes), 4 Israel Symington (Parkes), 5 Hayden Tidswell (Bulldogs), 6 Dan Ryan (Parkes), 7 Hugh Medway (CSU Bathurst), 8 Lachie McCutcheon (Narromine), 9 Tom Hollis (Bulldogs), 10 Mahe Fangupo (Parkes), 11 Scott Burgess (Narromine), 12 Mesui Lemoto (Orange City), 13 Filisone Pauta (Dubbo), 14 Tom Joseph (Bulldogs), 15 Phil Tonkin (Bulldogs), 16 Josh Tremain (Orange City), 17 George Quigley (Trangie), 18 Enoch Toofohe (Dubbo), 19 Dave Jessiman (Mudgee), 20 Brad Pugh (Dubbo), 21 Ben Ryan (Parkes), 22 John Rathbone (Parkes), 23 Jack Garrad (CSU Bathurst), 24 Jack Hammond (Forbes), 25 Sam Norris (Cowra), 26 Marika Korivui (Parkes).