ORANGE CYMS hooker James Wynne has been helping a gun group of under-8s through the 2016 rugby league season, some of them in their first winter of footy.
Now the shoe, or rather the boot, is firmly on the other foot.
Wynne’s under-8s will be on hand to help cheer their coach on when he runs out for the biggest day on the Group 10 calendar – grand final day.
Hopefully I can put in a good performance for those young guys.
Enjoying his 40th birthday on Friday, Wynne will be the oldest man on Wade Park when CYMS take on the in-form Mudgee Dragons.
Having not played since hanging up the boots at the end of 2012, Wynne never thought he’d play rugby league again, let alone get the chance to win a title.
But the classy half or hooker returned to footy in 2016 to show his son, Xavier, what league is about, with Wynne having previously played with Newcastle Knights and with France at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup in Australia.
Still, he never thought he be in this position.
“That’s the whole reason I play; to get my young bloke involved and let him see what it’s all about,” Wynne said.
“(The team has) been to a few of our games and ran us out one day. To see the look on their faces, I remember doing it when I was that age. It’s something that’s stuck with me forever.
“Hopefully I can put in a good performance for those young guys. They’re always watching.”
Wynne’s place in the decider was in jeopardy after the major semi-final win, having been sent off in the 22-20 victory over Panthers.
The veteran rake was cleared though, ensuring he’ll be there on Sunday to guide the green and golds out of acting half.
“Definitely relieved,” Wynne said after he was cleared, sparking the #freewynnie phenomenon.
“You can never be confident in those things.
“I was just fortunate that we had some video and the touch judge’s report wasn’t quite accurate.”
Wynne said the key for CYMS was simple footy.
“I think if we get 50 per cent of the ball we’ll be in with a chance. I’ll back our defence any day of the week.”