THIS weekend’s Football NSW Country Cup means plenty for the three Orange and District Football Association representative teams dispersing across the state - terms like opportunity, growth, stiff competition and team bonding come to mind.
But there’s one thing each coach is valuing more than most, and that’s experience.
Shining to be the best representative team out of Western this year, Orange’s under 15 coach Johnny Kuntze says his side has been strong throughout the season, starring at the Bathurst Cup in March before putting together a similarly impressive showing at the Lightning Cup in Canberra.
He believes the experience his squad will garner from competing against Riverina and the Griffith Football Association this weekend in Merimbula will prove invaluable for the team.
“The more competition these boys get, the more the sport will grow,” Kuntze said.
“And that’s what it’s all about. The boys have been competitive this year, I don’t imagine that’ll change this weekend.
“In my opinion, Riverina will be the toughest team we play this weekend, but the experience these boys will get out of playing at a higher level again will be invaluable. “We play four games, hopefully we can come away with a couple of wins.”
Each team has won their place in the Country Cup tournament by virtue of their success in the Western Youth League competition held over the past month.
After an undefeated run, the Orange under 13 side heads to Albury where they’ll take on Albury Wodonga and the Highlands Football Association today and then again tomorrow.
Manager Emma Davis says after a successful year, this weekend’s games would be a step up for the under 13s.
“This weekend we’re heading into the unknown,” she said, the team coached by her husband Nathan. “Obviously being 13-year-olds, for Nathan and I, the experience of playing at this level is important.”
Under 14 coach Rob Dawson was glowing of the credentials of all of the Orange sides, particularly the 13s.
“They’ve gone through so far this year undefeated, without conceding a goal, and that’s a credit to them,” Dawson said, his side also set to play in Merimbula where they’ll face Griffith and Far South Coast Football Associations.
“For my team ... it’s a step up but their a great side. We’ll go defensive initially but hopefully it’ll open up and we can come away with a win.”
The Country Cup is played between the best representative teams from Western, Riverina and South Coast to determine the best representative teams in each of the five age groups.