HOW do you make the job of picking the best possible Western Rams team for the NSW Rugby League Country Championships easier?
If you ask one of those tasked with that job, Western Rams coach Cameron Greenhalgh, moving the annual Group 10 versus Group 11 fixture to earlier in the year would be a good start.
This year marks the return of an open age Country Championships after four seasons of divisional outfits being restricted to under 23s.
While Greenhalgh's job of picking a squad for the titles, which commence in February, will be helped by Western's campaign in last year's open-age President's Cup and he's been keeping an eye on new recruits in Group 10 and Group 11, it still won't be easy.
It's why he'd love to see the annual Group 10 versus Group 11 fixture, which this season will be played on May 22, contested prior to the Country Championships in the future.
"They're going to have a Group 11-Group 10 game this year, but that is going to be after this campaign this year which will be a bit of a shame," Greenhalgh said.
"It would have been good to see Group 10 and Group 11 play before this to see who would get the guernseys as obviously people have different views on who to pick.
"Not having seen any football this year I suppose you have to go a little bit on reputation and what they've done in previous years and maybe what they did wearing a Western jumper.
"I'll also be making a few calls to blokes around the region too."
The call for those interested in playing for the Western Rams to nominate was made prior to Christmas when it was revealed the under 23s age restriction was axed.
Greenhalgh feels this will help those in the green and white jersey be more prepared than what they were for last season's President's Cup.
"It's not like President's Cup, it's not rushed, everyone knows what they're doing, a call was put out there before Christmas for people to make themselves available and everyone who is interested should have been putting in the effort with their fitness by now," he said.
"Western used to be successful and I'm hoping we can get that back after not so much a disappointing President's Cup - we were in everything - but we probably lacked the benefit of doing a lot together."
HAVE YOUR SAY
- Send us a letter to the editor using the form below ...