JARROD Robbins has some pretty big boots to fill.
The 17-year-old has been selected in the centres for the Western Rams’ 2012 Country Rugby League Under 18s Championships campaign at Wingham this weekend.
The Rams are the defending champions after going through the 2011 championships undefeated, winning the final 38-10 against the Newcastle Rebels in Albury on the back of a side coach Steve Sutton described as a “once in a generation” line-up.
That team included Jarrod’s brother Cody.
Cody played on the wing in the star-studded Rams side but has put aside sibling rivalry to give a few tips to Jarrod before Western take on the East Coast Dolphins on Saturday.
“Cody has been able to tell me what it takes to step up in representative footy. He has given me a few tips. He knows what it’s all about,” Jarrod said.
And those tips have paid off.
Selected at centre in the Western squad following a strong performance for the President’s XIII at the Rams trials in Wellington, Robbins has since gone on to score a brace in his side’s only trial match, a 24-18 win over Southern Redbacks.
Robbins admitted to being a little aggrieved at not making the original Group 10 side, instead earning a place in the President’s squad boasting a mix of Group 10 and Group 11 talent.
However, any disappointment was short lived after he earned his first Rams jersey.
Robbins said he felt like he had a point to prove.
“The hard work has paid off. I had to show the coach that I was up for it and I did that,” Robbins said.
“I’ve now got the honour of wearing the number three for the green and whites.”
He insisted the pressure of being defending champions was no burden.
“There’s a bit of pressure seeing as they won last year but I think we’re up to it and we’ll give it a good crack to go back-to-back,” he said.
“Last year I set myself the goal to make Western Rams and I’ve achieved that now.”
He said he learnt plenty against Southern in a good lead-up hit out before the championships.
“My opponent was much bigger than me but I was able to get on the outside of him and score two tries,” Robbins said.
“I thought I played well.”
The team travelled to Wingham on Thursday with their first game of the championships today.
The Country Championships’ semi-finals are in Mudgee before the Glen Willow Sporting Complex plays host to the City-Country fixture on Sunday, April 22.
WESTERN RAMS 18s: 1 Jack Creith (Parkes), 2 Sam Dwyer (Parkes), 3 Jarrod Robbins (Orange CYMS), 4 Brent Naden (Wellington), 5 Aiden Craig (Cowra), 6 Chad Porter (Parkes), 7 Wade Potter (Cobar), 8 Jake Goodwin (Forbes), 9 Alex Bonham (Dubbo CYMS), 10 Seamus Leyland (Cowra), 11 Lewis Stanley (Wellington), 12 Lincoln Kavanagh (Dubbo CYMS), 13 Mick Ingwersen (Bathurst Panthers), 14 Casey Burgess (Mudgee), 15 Martin Herbert (Forbes), 16 Caleb Whitehurst (Cobar), 17 Swade Dunn (Dubbo Macquarie), 18 Dylan Brand (Coonabarabran). Coach: Steve Sutton.