WESTERN Division trials in October. Don’t rush off to Specsavers, your vision isn’t blurry, trials for 2016 Rams jerseys in the under-18 and under-16 academy sides will take place tomorrow at Manildra’s Jack Huxley Oval.
Western Rams regional manager Peter Clarke said a change in the format for the 2016 Aged Country Championships from a one-weekend tournament to a five-week competition in April meant preparation for the next rugby league season was beginning a matter of weeks after the last had ended.
A throng of Orange juniors will make the trip to Manildra to press their claims for an academy spot, Clarke adding with 140 players on show selecting the best to make the cut would be a challenging assignment for new coaches Cameron Grenhalgh (under 18s) and Jamie Szczerbanik (under 16s).
“We’ve had to accelerate the selection process a bit,” he said.
“The academy has always been part of identification, but we’ve traditionally used the Group trials (in Dubbo) as a way to pick Rams squads.”
Last year those Group trials were in May. And with the country championship changing its start date to April, that’s no longer possible.
For the Harmony Cup winning Group 10 under-16 side, which won last weekend in Penrith, the season hasn’t stopped. Clarke said the likes of Moung Dut, Craig Tarr, Brock Campbell, Lachy Munro and Nathan Whatman were all set to take the field in Manildra this weekend ahead of what he believes will be a more balanced championship campaign, particularly for the Rams sides.
“Extending it makes it more thorough, and it’ll give regions a chance to further develop players,” he said.”