Motivation will be no issue for Cameron Greenhalgh’s under 18s side on Saturday’s as the one-off clash against the Federation Italian Rugby League Australia (FIRLA) may well be last time many players wear the green and white of the Western Rams.
The Rams under 18s will feature as part of a bumper day of Western versus FIRLA action at Bathurst’s Carrington Park.
The bulk of the 18s side was part of the team which took out this season’s Country Championships crown and the chance to record an undefeated season and finish junior careers on a high is what’s driving Greenhalgh and his players.
“A few of the boys will be going away to Sydney to play SG Ball and maybe in the 20s there so this may be the last time they pull on the green and white,” the coach said.
“We spoke about that and they’re all excited to have one more game after winning the Country Championships.
“You can get a bit worried about motivation because some have won grand finals and other have been runners-up and they can think ‘that’s that’ but they’re a good bunch and they love playing footy and it’s a good chance to finish off after the Country Championships and go undefeated.”
The coach confessed he’s not sure what to expect from the FIRLA outfit, which is expected to feature a number of players with SG Ball experience.
The FIRLA under 16s outfit won in last season’s set of fixtures and Greenhalgh said it stands to reason many of those players would now feature in the 18s.
But there’s no doubt the best junior representative side in Country Rugby League (CRL) will start as favourites.
Dubbo Macquarie powerhouse Luke Gale and Parkes star Darby Medlyn again headline a powerful forward pack while also features the likes of Bathurst St Pat’s big man Riley Cheshire and Blayney’s Joseph Hobby.
Dubbo CYMS pair Matt Burton and Bayden Searle will guide the side around while Forbes livewire Jaiden Burke will be a major threat in the number nine.
While the match will be the final fixture in juniors for a number of the Rams players, it’s also set to be Greenhalgh’s last as head coach.
The Forbes-based mentor has taken on a Western coaching role for a number of years, enjoying plenty of success, but said he will make a move to behind the scenes next year.
“Whether that’s selection or development, or something else,” he said.
“I’ve been coaching for five or six years so it’s time to give someone else a shot.”
- WESTERN: 1 Charlie Staines (Forbes Magpies), 2 Daniel Stanley (Nyngan Tigers), 3 Craig Tarr (Orange CYMS), 4 Brock Naden (Wellington Cowboys), 5 Farren Lamb (Forbes Magpies), 6 Matt Burton (Dubbo CYMS), 7 Bayden Searle (Dubbo CYMS), 8 Joseph Hobby (Blayney Bears), 9 Jaiden Burke (Forbes Magpies), 10 Riley Cheshire (Bathurst St Pat’s), 11 Darby Medlyn (Parkes Spacemen), 12 Luke Gale (Dubbo Macquarie), 13 Jack Davis (Dubbo CYMS); Bench: 14 Jackson Bonham-Phair (Dubbo CYMS), 15 Aaron Mawhinney (Forbes Magpies), 16 Nathan Swain (Orange CYMS), 17 Ty-Lee Simmonds (Bathurst Panthers)