THEY have both played league and rugby union, they are new to Group 10 in 2012, they wore the number seven jumper in their season openers and now Tom Clyburn and Claude Gordon share the admiration of Dave Elvy.
When Elvy, the Group 10 coach, yesterday named his squad to take on Castlereagh in the Country Championships opener at Gilgandra on May 12, Clyburn and Gordon’s names were there.
Gordon, who has played rugby union with Dubbo Rhinos in the past as well as having stints with Dubbo CYMS and Newcastle’s Toyota Cup side, starred for Orange CYMS in their season-opening 43-6 win over Orange Hawks on Saturday night.
While Clyburn’s St Pat’s side did not find the same success in their season opener, going down 20-14 to Bathurst Panthers, the former Group 11 talent has impressed Elvy. He has returned to rugby league after two seasons playing rugby union with CSU Bathurst.
“Claude has always been a a talent and while he is still young he did very well for CYMS, and Tom Clyburn, he’s been up at the uni [CSU] for a couple of years, but he’s played for Group 11 before when he was a junior,” Elvy said.
“Both of them are halves as well, they have played in that position before and have good kicking games whereas in the past we’ve put guys there who weren’t specialists.
“They will give us good direction and they will both take on the line as well.
“They are both still young so they probably will make a couple of mistakes but they will create opportunities for us and I think with them we will do well. They are jumping out of their skins to play rep footy.”
While having this duo join Group 10’s ranks this year has been a bonus for Elvy, he said overall the players available and willing to play made his job of selecting a squad tough.
He said at least seven or eight more players who missed the squad of 20 could easily handle the pressure that comes with wearing a Group 10 jumper.
“It was a headache selecting this squad, but it was a good headache,” Elvy said. “There will be some guys who are disappointed they didn’t make it but this year we do have a lot more depth than we have had in the past.
“That’s a good thing because guys could pick up injuries and if guys don’t perform then we have that flexibility to make changes.
“This is a good squad I think can do well. Last year we had a lot pull out and a lot of injuries. That was no excuse, Group 9 [40-22 winners] were too strong. No disrespect to the guys that played for us last year but this side has more depth and more size off the bench.
“If they turn up, want to play and do their best, I think we can go a long way.”
As well as Gordon, Orange CYMS is represented by Tim Bassmann, while Orange Hawks’ Todd Barrow and Jared Brodrick have earned selection.
GROUP 10: Jonathon Van Veen (Lithgow), Brendan Van Veen (Lithgow), Matt Mizzi (Lithgow), Daniel George (Lithgow), Tim Bassmann (Orange CYMS), Claude Gordon (Orange CYMS), Christian Luyks (Bathurst Panthers), Luke Carpenter (Bathurst Panthers), Matt Kirkland (Bathurst Panthers), Jared Brodrick (Orange Hawks), Todd Barrow (Orange Hawks), Zac Maher (Oberon), Wade Judd (Oberon), Greg Behan (Oberon), Zac Rowlandson (Oberon), Tom Clyburn (St Pat’s), Zac Merritt (St Pat’s), Chris Ward (Mudgee), Jarrod Robinson (Mudgee).