WESTERN Rams under 16 front-rower Jack Bastick knows he has his work cut out for him in this weekend’s Country Rugby League Regional Under 16s Championship.
Bastick makes his Rams debut today in Western Division’s opening clash with Central Coast, in his first game back from a troubling ankle injury.
“I’m pumped,” he said.
“I’m a bit worried about my match fitness after a few weeks out. I’ll have to work a lot harder.”
Making his job even harder, the Orange CYMS star has never played with, or even met, the majority of his team mates.
“I missed our trial game (against Southern Redbacks) two weeks ago because of my ankle,” he said.
“Hopefully the camp will give me a chance to get to know a few guys, and gel a bit before the game.”
The Rams went into camp on Thursday night in Bathurst, before travelling to Wollongong yesterday ahead of the championships.
All eight competing sides will play their respective preliminary games today at Collegians Sporting Complex, before the winning teams progress to the semi-finals tomorrow at Sid Parrish Park.
The finals will be held next weekend in Tamworth.
Bastick said making the final will be his team’s priority, and added he will look to take charge of the middle of the field.
“I’ll just try and get up off the line and whack them, before they get the chance to whack me,” he laughed.
“My role will definitely be to control the middle third, and make sure I make as many metres as possible.”
The 16-year-old is in good stead to do just that after signing a contract with the Canberra Raiders as part of the club’s rural scholarship program earlier in the season.
“I’ve learned so much down there, I wouldn’t be making these teams if I hadn’t been to Canberra,” he said.
“They teach the little things, the one per centers you don’t really get taught out here. It makes a huge difference.”
Kick-off between Western Divison and Central Coast is at 11.50am, at Collegians Sporting Complex.
The NSW Country under 16s team will named at the conclusion of the tournament.
WESTERN RAMS U16S: Kotoni Staggs (Wellington Cowboys), Jayden Fagg (Oberon Tigers), Graham Peckham (Wellington Cowboys), Mitchell Andrews (Forbes Magpies), Jesse Parker (Parkes Marist), DJ Kennedy (Narromine Jets), Isaac Thompson (Narromine Jets), Jack Bastick (Orange CYMS), Rick Nobes (Cowra Magpies), Caleb Wardman (Nyngan Tigers), William Burns (Parkes Marist), Ethan Butler (Mudgee Dragons), Matthew Woolnough (Red Bend), Jackson Hourn (Nyngan Tigers), James Goonrey (Red Bend), Nick Miller (Lithgow Storm), Jay Orth (Mudgee Dragons), McCoy White (Bathurst St Pat’s).