As someone who has been around the Western Zone set up for a number of years, Jordan Moran has seen the change of attitude towards representative cricket within the region first hand.
The powerful left-hander said cricketers used to see the Country Championship as a holiday and a chance to “drink and party” but things are vastly different now.
“There’s been the culture change over the past six or seven years and now the Zone is reaping rewards,” he said.
“Now we go away to play cricket and we’ve earned the respect of country centres like Newcastle.”
Western is aiming to cap off that progress in Sunday’s Country Championship final against the Central Coast, where a win would seal three country titles in the past five years.
Moran will be key again, expected to continue his opening partnership with captain Nick Berry.
The NSW Country incumbent was in some doubt heading into last weekend’s Country Championship Southern Pool carnival at Shellharbour following a side strain which kept him out of club cricket for a number of weeks. But he showed no distress when scoring a century on day two against Riverina and he backed that up with a half century on the final day against Illawarra.
“I wasn’t too confident going in because I hadn’t had a bat but I knew if I could spend some time in the middle it would come together,” he said.
“It was disappointing to miss out on the first day but I was determined to do my best for the team on the Saturday and Sunday and it’s my job to score runs.”
The scores he made at Shellharbour means Moran is every chance of retaining his NSW Country spot, while Berry and fellow Dubbo batsman Mitch Bower also scored a baggy blue last season.
RSL-Colts’ Greg Buckley is also in the running to score a call-up having made a ton against Illawarra.
“It is a massive ambition to make Country,” Moran said.
“But if we produce a dominant performance on Sunday everything will take care of itself.
“If we do well for Western the personal accolades will follow.”
Moran feels his side is capable of producing a dominant performance against Central Coast in the decider, with the bulk of the Western squad having been together for up to five years now.
“We’ve tasted grand final success and had grand final defeat so hopefully the feel of winning can drive us on Sunday,” Moran said.
The Country Championship final will be played at Ourimbah on Sunday from 9.30am.
WESTERN ZONE: Nick Berry ©, Jordan Moran, Will Lindsay, Jacob McNaught, Matt Stephen, Mitch Bower, Greg Buckley, Marty Jeffrey, Josh Toole, Ryan Peacock, Jacob Harvey, Tim Berry.