Arty’s Group therapy: Hawks big man 'honoured' to wear rep jersey

KEEN AS MUSTARD: Orange Hawks prop Arty Shead can't wait to get to Dubbo on Saturday to tackle Group 11 in the Western Rams trials. Photo: JUDE KEOGH                                                      0428hawks7

KEEN AS MUSTARD: Orange Hawks prop Arty Shead can't wait to get to Dubbo on Saturday to tackle Group 11 in the Western Rams trials. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0428hawks7

AFTER the debacle of players putting club before higher honours throughout the NRL’s representative round last weekend, if there was any lingering doubts the same mindset was prevalent in the bush Arty Shead yesterday put them to bed.

The hulking Orange Hawks prop has been named in Group 10’s 18-man side to tackle Group 11 at Dubbo’s Apex Oval and with Western Rams jumpers on the line, the 35-year-old is itching to get a taste of the action.

“Bloody oath,” the former France international said ahead of Saturday’s game, with Graeme Osborne’s Group 10 line-up looking to back-up last year’s 30-14 triumph with another strong performance on Group 11 turf this Saturday.

“I’m nearing the end of my career and if there’s an opportunity to be honoured with a Western jersey then I’ll give it my best.”

No doubt chuffed with the call-up, Shead’s sentiment would be music to the ears of both Group 10 and Western Rams selectors.

It is, though, a representative debut that was ear marked 12 months earlier.

“Last year I was asked if I’d like to play rep footy but I didn’t think my body was up to it, I was carrying a few niggling injuries,” he added, with an ankle injury sidelining the front rower for the early rounds of 2014 too.

“This year, now, I’m feeling good.”

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Shead is one of six Orange players picked to represent Group 10 on Saturday.

Fellow Hawks Joe Lasagavibau and Alofi Mataele will line up in the backs and Orange CYMS trio Dan Stuart, Tim Bassmann and Ben McAlpine will likely make up a large portion of the rest of Osborne’s three-quarter line.

Shead’s front row accomplices include Cowra’s Ron Lawrence, Bathurst Panther Brent Seager, Oberon’s Wade Judd and St Pat’s English import Luke Newcombe, with all capable of playing 80 minutes.

With that kind of firepower on deck, Osborne won’t be lacking impact up the middle.

“I’ll just try and take the boys forward with the ball and tackle my arse off in defence,” Shead said of his likely impact on the team.

“Just the things I do every week. I’ll be going out there to play good footy.”

“I’m nearing the end of my career and if there’s an opportunity to be honoured with a Western jersey then I’ll give it my best"

Only in his second year at Hawks and first representing Group 10, Shead’s knowledge of Saturday’s Group 11 outfit is understandably little.

“But I know with rep footy everyone’s out there to play to their best,” he said.

“It’s going to be a tough game.”

Group 10 trained ahead of Saturday’s game for the final time last night.

Group 10 plays Group 11 on Saturday night at Apex Oval, Dubbo.

GROUP 10: Joe Lasagavibau, Alofi Mataele, Josh Rainbow, Dan Stuart, Tim Bassmann, Ben McAlpine, Garry Riley, Ron Lawrence, Benjamin John, Brent Seager, Pale Ale, Blake Seager, Jack Afamasaga, Luke Carpenter, Arty Shead, Wade Judd, Luke Newcombe, Tom Lewsley.

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