Only way is up for baby bulls: underdogs ready to give state championships a shake

UNDERDOGS: Central West’s Jake Styles shifts it wide in last year's NSW under-14 carnival. This year’s tournament starts at Endeavour Oval tomorrow.
Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0608rugby4

UNDERDOGS: Central West’s Jake Styles shifts it wide in last year's NSW under-14 carnival. This year’s tournament starts at Endeavour Oval tomorrow. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0608rugby4

EVERYONE loves a good underdog.

Whether it be the Mighty Ducks, the Jamaican bobsled team or Susan Boyle, it is virtually impossible to not throw your support behind the ragtag bunch no one expects to do well.

That’s why when Central West runs out in this weekend’s NSW Under 14 State Championship at Endeavour Oval, the baby bulls are sure to have a huge following.

Central West has been ranked 15th out of 15 for the carnival and is up against some of the best junior rugby teams in the state.

“It will be a very good competition,” Central West Rugby Union chief executive officer Peter Veenstra said.

“We are seeded 15th, but hopefully we can do much better than that.”

Of the 15 teams competing, just four are from NSW Country - Central West, Central Coast, Hunter and Illawarra. All the other sides are district or club sides based in Sydney, along with a representative side from the ACT.

The baby bulls will compete in pool C of the competition, against Gordon, Warringah and Eastwood and the third-seeded ACT squad.

Pool A features the top seed Eastern Suburbs, along with Parramatta, Southern Districts, Penrith and Illawarra, while pool B involves Northern Suburbs, Central Coast, Manly, Randwick and Hunter.

Veenstra said the baby bulls had one more motivating factor to do well - the chance to represent their state.

“Selectors will watch over the entire competition,” he explained.

“At the conclusion, the NSW under-14 team will be picked, so everyone has that little bit more incentive.”

The finals will also be played in Orange, contrary to previous years where they were hosted in Sydney.

The state’s best junior referees also get the chance to impress, with Australian Rugby Union scholarship referees set to officiate at the tournament.

Games begin on Saturday from 9.30am and finish on Monday.

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