WESTERN Rams has finalised its preparation for next weekend’s clash with Italy, coach Darren Jackson naming a new-look line-up after a “crisp” training run at Manildra on Saturday.
The Rams will take on the Federation of Italian Rugby League Australia (FIRLA) opens side at Carrington Park, Bathurst, on Saturday, with the visiting Azzurri looking to shore up its squad ahead of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
NSW Cup and Queensland Cup players – with the chance of some English Super League guns – are expected to be littered throughout the Italian side in Bathurst.
But, in the face of arguably the toughest test of their 2016 campaign to date, Jackson said the key for his side’s preparation was keeping things very simple.
“The basics, and doing them well, will be important for us,” Jackson said after his side’s session at Manildra’s Jack Huxley Oval.
“It was as good (a session) as I expected it was going to be. It was really crisp for a one-off.
“I pulled the group together at the start and congratulated them all for being there. I pretty much said to them that if they go back to their clubs and start the year in-form, then these are the guys we’re going to be looking at picking again.
“It’s a great opportunity to get your name out there and recognised.”
One of those names will be rookie five-eighth Dom Maley.
Maley wasn’t even slated to play with Orange CYMS’ premier league side in 2016, but became Mick Sullivan’s go-to player in the green and golds’ No.6 jumper.
He’ll play alongside Nyngan half Jacob Neill on Saturday, with Coonamble Bears gun Jeremy Thurston the other notable addition to the Rams backline for the Italian clash.
“Dom strikes me as a really cool character,” Jackson said of his new pivot.
“Saturday was actually the first time I’ve met him and he’s got that level head which I think will be good for the team, there’s a lot of young guys in the squad.”
There’s four games at Carrington on Saturday – 11.30am - G10- under 16s v FIRLA (30 minute halves), 12.40pm - Rams under 16s v FIRLA (30 minute halves), 2pm - Rams under 21s v FIRLA (40 minute halves), 3.50pm - Rams v FIRLA (40 minute halves) – and Jackson said the bumper program should be well received by the public.
“It should be a great day of league. It’s great for the community that we still have some rugby league this time of year. Hopefully we get a few people down to the ground to support us,” Jackson said.
WESTERN RAMS: 1 Sam Dwyer (Parkes Spacemen), 2 Riccie Arriola (Oberon Tigers), 3 Warren Williams (Cowra Magpies), 4 Jeremy Thurston (Coonamble Bears), 5 Brad James (Gulgong Terriers), 6 Dom Maley (Orange CYMS), 7 Jacob Neill (Nyngan Tigers), 8 Brent Seager (Bathurst Panthers), 9 Jeremy Smith (Dubbo Macquarie), 10 Luke Thompson (Narromine Jets), 11 Simon Osborne (Orange CYMS), 12 Ben Maguire (Forbes Magpies), 13 Hamish Bryant (Mudgee Dragons); Bench: Keelan Bresac (Lithgow Workies), Jack Nobes (Cowra Magpies), Kurt Gudgeon (Gulgong Terriers), Greg Beahan (Bathurst Panthers), Jarrah McReaddie (Gilgandra Panthers).