Central West under 17s coach Ben McKenna has praised his side’s “unreal” efforts to finish third at the Shoalhaven junior AFL carnival over the weekend.
McKenna was determined the side, which has traditionally struggled at the Shoalhaven carnival, wouldn’t be hangers-on.
“I told them before the first game we weren’t there to make up the numbers and we were there to win and they played really well,” he said.
“They played incredibly, they had people stunned in the crowd.”
He cited the Bathurst Giants contingent of Riley Mitchell, Aidan McCauley, Nic Broes and Ryan Cooke as well as young ruckman Jack Goodell in his 12th game of Aussie Rules – as standouts.
Meanwhile, Central West’s Youth Girls have had a strong showing at the Junior Representative Carnival in Shoalhaven over the weekend, going down in the grand final to Sapphire Coast in a 5.7-37 to 1.2-8 defeat.
Sapphire Coast went through the tournament undefeated, handing Central West a big 10.5-65 to 1.0-6 defeat on the opening night of the tournament.
Central Wests’ two other games were both strong wins, with eight goals coming across the two matches.
The Youth Girls defeated Saints Pink 4.3-27 to 2.0-12 and Saints Blue 4.5-29 to 1.0-6 on Saturday to finish in second place on the ladder, and while the teams escaped the dreadful weather which lashed the Central West over the weekend, all teams across all age groups struggling across all their games with strong, blustery winds.
The under 13 and under 15 sides both finished without a win in the group stage of the carnival.
The under-13s lost 6.6-42 to 2.0-12 to Sapphire Coast and 1.3-9 to 5.3-33 to eventual premiers Illawarra, while also falling agonisingly short of a win against Shoalhaven.
They went down in a nail-biting one point loss, 4.0-24 to 4.1-25 in their second game of the tournament.
The under 15s only kicked three goals in the group stage of the tournament.
They lost 10.9-69 to 1.1-7 to Illawarra, 9.6-60 to 1.2-8 to Shoalhaven and 6.12-48 to 1.5-11 in a very inaccurate game to Sapphire Coast.
Results for third-placed play-offs were not available at time of print.