|LATEST JUNIOR RUGBY LEAGUE
TEACHERS HELP SELECT CLASSY STUDENTS
|Charlie Dwyer and Daniel West
The classroom isn’t the only place of learning at Forbes High School.
The school football grounds have also yielded some talented students over the years and that reputation looks set to continue under the tutelage of PE teachers Charlie Dwyer and Daniel West.
Mr Dwyer and Mr West as students know them, have both participated in top level school football tournaments in recent weeks, though in different codes.
Dwyer was recently a selector at the Combined High Schools rugby union carnival in Sydney, from where a squad of 54 was named for the upcoming All Schools Championships on June 27, 28 and 29.
He will coach the CHS second XV in the tournament, which is to take place at Knox College on Sydney’s North Shore.
The make up of the CHS teams has not been finalised but Dwyer said former Forbes High student Jason Hopkins stands a good chance of first XV selection.
The PE department head, who took up a position at the school this year, hopes he can pass on the coaching and training experiences to his Forbes students.
“Hopefully this exposes them to some of the opportunities that are available and I’ll be able to pass some of the knowledge and skills of the game that I’ve gained onto them,” Dwyer said.
One student who will stand to gain from Dwyer’s experiences is Matt Phillips, a year 10 student at Forbes High, who was part of the CHS Western Region side at the Opens CHS carnival last week.
While not selected in the 54 player squad, he drew plenty of praise from Dwyer and other top school rugby selectors.
Phillips was named in a NSW Country under 16s outfit and will still be eligible for CHS Opens selection for another two years.
“Matt played quite well, this is a level he certainly hasn’t experienced before,” Dwyer said last week.
“But he didn’t disappoint, he really rose to the occasion and added to the team.”
Forbes High School PE teacher Daniel West has also been playing a role in selecting high level school football sides recently.
West recently travelled to Myuna Bay where he was a selector at the under 15s and opens CHS rugby league carnival.
West said he watched nine games and then sat down with other selectors to name a NSW CHS under 15s squad.
The squad of 20 will contest the upcoming Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League Championships to be held in Brisbane from June 29 to July 4.
Red Bend Catholic College student Todd Graham will represent NSW Combined Catholic Colleges under 15s at the national carnival.
* * *
Meanwhile, Forbes High School’s under 14 rugby league team reached the western final of the Buckley Shield competition, held at Forbes High on Friday morning.
Forbes High School met Blayney High in the final.
MOLONG’S LONG-AWAITED WIN
|The Molong Central School side celebrates winning the Tom Kemp Shield. Pictured are (back) Jack Little, Nicholas Regan, Brandon Douglas, Rhys Colefax, Sam Gallagher, Dylan Little, (middle) Ethan Davies, Chris Beatty, Jai Kizana, Tory Madden, Mark Paterson (Coach), Damian Dodds, Damon Sprenger, Macquarie Meyers, Ian Hanrahan, (front) Daniel Madden and Mitch Brown. Injured: Luke Hogan. Absent: Joshu
MOLONG Central School brought home the Tom Kemp Shield for the first time in over a decade last week.
The school won the Shield when they defeated Condobolin High 40-18 in the grand final at Peak Hill last Friday.
The Tom Kemp Shield is an under 16s rugby league competition for western schools with less than 400 students.
The last time Molong won the tournament it was called a different name and David Lyons was in the winning side.
Molong coach Mark Paterson admitted winning this year’s Shield was a surprise. Molong defeated Oberon, a combined Dunedoo/Gulgong side and Canowindra to progress to the final.
Paterson said the grand final against Condobolin was a good match and Molong played a great game.
“They wanted to do well. They realised there’s not a lot of opportunities to play in grand finals so they were pretty pumped up,” he said.
“The forwards were fairly evenly matched. Our backs did the damage off some great foundation work from the forwards.”
Outside centre Brandon Douglas was the grand final’s man of the match with his three tries and six out of seven conversions. The side’s next focus is the Central Schools Rugby League 7s in a fortnight.
PARRA TAKING CCC SERIOUS
|NSW CCC U 15's 2008 Squad (Photo : ourfooty media)
With the Australian Secondary School Rugby League National Championships just around the corner teams are fine tuning their prepartition with practice matches all over the Country.
Next Sunday, newly crowned NSWRL Harold Hatthews Cup Champions the mighty Parramatta Eels take on the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges under 15's NSW State side.
The Parramatta Eels Matty's Cup management must be taking the game fairly seriously as they have a training session or 2 planned for this week.
Eels 2008 Premiership winning coach Mick Lewis is the coach of the NSW CCC Under 15's so he will know quite well the strengths of the World Champions, which should be handy on Sunday.
This terrific game is on at the Cabramatta Sports Ground and the show down kicks of at 12:00 noon, so get out to the Cabramatta Sports Ground on Sunday 22 nd June for some great representative junior rugby league.
The NSW CCC under 18's will also be heading over to Perth to play at Western Australian Colts team in a couple week. Go the Blues
RouND 10 WRaP uP
|THAT'S GOLD !! The Yarrawarra Tigers & De la Salle Under 11A's (Photo : ourfooty media)
In the Under 11A's it was a replay of last years Grand Final at Yarrawarra between the Tigers & De la Salle.
What a great game, both teams played like little demons and at the end of the game the scores were 12 - all thanks to De la scoring a try right on the final whistle to make the score 12 - 10 with a kick to come. True enough the little De la kicker converted to make the scores even.
This was a fantastic game played in the spirit of Rugby League and all players are a credit to their team & footy clubs. The score was a good results from this top game.
ILLAWARRA SHS SMASH SARAH REDFERN HS
As we approach the business end of the National Arrive alive Cup the Tier 1 team are coming into their own.
Last night (Friday) Illawarra Sports played Sarah Redfern HS at the Sydney Football Staudium, thats where the match ended.
Illawarra Sports were awesome, their attack was often wide with some very good set pieces working like they do at training.
For a team like the highly respected Sarah Redfern HS to have blot against their name is an impressive sign by their opposition.
Illawarra Sports have put the challenge out there with a dire warning to all comers, take us lightly at you're own peril
This was the 1st TV game of the 2008 Arrive alive Cup season, the game will be replayed on ch 9 on the 20 th July, usually at 6:00 am, check your TV guide
KELLY STARS IN BLUES WIN
|Representative honours: Kempsey’s Albert Kelly starred as the NSW under 18s thrashed Queensland at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night. PHOTO : Matt Roberts
Kempsey's Albert Kelly starred as the NSW under 18s smashed Queensland 34-12 in the precursor to State of Origin II at Suncorp Stadium.
Kelly, playing at five-eighth, scored a try and directed his charges well around the paddock to set up a convincing win after scores were locked at 12-all going into the second half.
A NSW side dripping with talent opened the scoring in the third minute through a slick backline movement that netted a try for Penrith Panthers winger Matthew Wright.
Queensland hit back 10 minutes later after a freakish piece of play from winger Ryan Tongia, who leapt high above the pack to secure possession before offloading a miracle pass to Gerald Beale.
Beale still had work to do but managed to squeeze the ball over the line amidst of flurry of NSW bodies. With the scores locked together at half time the Maroons would have hoped the raucous home crowd could get them over the line, but NSW turned on the class to score 22 unanswered points and an easy win.
Lachlan Coote was the first to cross for the Blues and Mitchel Johnson followed soon after. The game was put beyond doubt when Wright crossed for his second seven minutes from time and he completed his hat track with four minutes remaining.
NSW 34 Matthew Wright 3, Lachlan Coote, Albert Kelly, Mitchel Johnson tries; Lachlan Coote 5 goals def. QLD 12 Gerard Beale, Patrick O’Hanlon tries; Jordan Rankin 2 goals.
|FOSTER TOPS TRIALS TO COME TO NOTICE OF NRL TALENT SCOUTS
Woodberry’s Daniel Foster did not just get picked in the NSW Combined High Schools rugby league team, he gave Australian Schoolboys selectors some serious food for thought as well.
Foster was named player of the trials when the cream of the state school rugby league crop were put through their paces in Toronto in May.
Named in his pet position at hooker, Foster will be part of the under-15 side to represent NSWCHS at the Australian Championships in Bundaberg, Queensland in June and July.
Foster, 15, starred in the undefeated Northern NSW team that tore through a draw of state school sides in Toronto last month.
By no means the biggest player in the CHS forward pack, Foster’s mobility made him a threat around the ruck. It was this threat that grabbed the attention of selectors, rating him above the other nineteen players honoured with NSWCHS selection.
When the state side flies to Queensland to play the nation’s best at the end of the month, there will be no mystery in the motive of this ambitious 15-year-old.
“That’s the ultimate goal, to make the Australian Schoolboys,” he said.
A career in rugby league is not unrealistic for Foster, with NRL development squads already showing an interest.
“So far I think Parramatta have been in contact, but I’m not sure who else.”
But this level-headed Hunter Sports High student is not being blinded by the lights in his eyes.
Even at his age he is aware of the potentially hollow promise of a career in professional sport.
“That’s the dream, to play professionally. But I think you should always have a backup.
“I’d probably like to get a trade as well. Heaps of players don’t make it.”
Foster is currently rising through the ranks of the Western Suburbs club in Newcastle, currently playing with the under-15s team.
COBRAS TO STEP OUT IN NEW JACKETS
|Eastridge Junior Rugby Club executive member Kenny Bruce with raffle winner Joel Crowe and the framed Australian guernsey.
Dubbo’s Eastridge Cobras junior league players will have newly designed club jackets, thanks to a fundraiser held to pay for their purchase.
The raffle was finalised at Dubbo City Council by Michael Bridge with Cobras under-14 player Joel Crowe having the winning ticket.
Joel’s prize is a framed Australian guernsey which he will cherish for many, many years.
Eastridge club officials would like to thank Fred and Lyn Griffiths at GH Cole and Sons, IGA South Dubbo and Wilga Meats for their generous sponsorship and particularly the many people who purchased tickets.
SHARKS PLAYERS IN REPRESENTATIVE TEAMS
|SUPER SIXTEENS: The Group 16 under 16's
The Group 16 Minor Rugby League under 15 and under 16s representative teams, which contain five Moruya-Tuross players between them, will travel to Albion Park this weekend to compete in the Junior Rugby League championships.
The under 15s are coached by Adrian Day and the under 16s by Corey Stewart. The under 16s will take on Group 7 at 10am and the under 15s will meet Group 10 at 11am, with the schedule for the weekend’s remaining games dependent on results.
|CIS PICK REP TEAMS
The NSW CIS (Combined Independant Schools) teams to compete at the Australian Championships in Darwin next month were picked recently at the training camp last month: NSW CIS U/18 2008
||SCHOOL / COLLEGE
||Isaac Upton Hunter
||Valley Grammar School
||Lindisfarne Anglican College
||Belmont Christian College
||Lindisfarne Anglican College
||Lindisfarne Anglican College
||The Riverina Anglican College
||Mamre Christian College
||St Stanislaus College
||St Stanislaus College
||Bishop Druitt College (Coffs Harbour)
||Bishop Druitt College (Coffs Harbour)
||Shellharbour Anglican College
||St Philips Christian College (Port Stephens)
||Bishop Druitt College
||Bishop Druitt College
| ARRIVE ALIVE CUP UPDATE
- COMPETITION UPDATE
The Arrive alive Cup competition is beginning to heat up with all regions having completed their rounds and the winners progressing to Tier B of the competition. These schools will now compete for one of four places in Tier A where the heavy-weights of the competition await them.
See below for regional winners in this year's Arrive alive Cup.
||Holy Cross College
||La Salle High School, Bankstown
||St Edmunds College
||Illawarra Sports High School
||St Augustine's College
||Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School
||St John's College, Woodlawn
||Hills Sport High School
||Griffith High School
||Kiama High School
||South Sydney High School
||Marist College Kogarah
||St Stanislaus College, Bathurst
||Sarah Redfern High School
Tomorrow, Friday 13th June sees the first Channel 9 filmed match of the 2008 Arrive alive Cup competition between Sarah Redfern College and Illawarra Sports High School. This match will air on Sunday 20th July.
The match is set to be a tough encounter with both teams hosting a number of representative players. Sarah Redfern College's squad is dotted with several Harold Matthews and SG Ball players, while Illawarra Sports High School has a wealth of talent including three Toyota Cup players in Travis Roche, Beau Henry and Shannon Wakeman.
The match will kick off tomorrow at 4pm at the Sydney Football Stadium, prior to the 7.30pm NRL clash between the Sydney Roosters and the Penrith Panthers.
Upcoming matches Friday 20 June
SCHOOLBOY DAVIS OFF TO DARWIN
|ADRIAN Davis is destined for an elite rugby league career.
Granville Boys High student and former Kempsey boy Adrian Davis will line up for the NSW CHS (Combined High Schools) squad when it contests the ASSRL (Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League) tournament in Darwin next month.
Davis was selected in a 20 man squad of mainly Sydney-based schoolboys.
It’s been a busy year for Davis, who has made quite a name for himself playing in the Bulldogs SG Ball side.
“I’m enjoying my footy,” he said
“At the moment I’m just trying to get big and strong for the rest of the season.”
With the SG Ball competition ending three weeks ago, Davis has been training with the Bulldogs under 20s Toyota Cup squad.
“I played against the Storm last week,” he said.
“It was a pretty hard game and it showed me that I’ve still got a lot of things to work on.”
He said his selection in the CHS team was just reward for a season of hard work and sacrifice.
“It was unexpected, but it’s something I wanted to achieve and I’ve worked hard to get,” he said.
At the recent selection trials in Sydney, Davis starred for Presidents as they scratched up two wins and a hard-earned draw against competition favourites Sydney.
The CHS squad also includes the son of former NRL bad boy John Hopoate, William.
The team will come together for a training camp in Sydney on July 7 before flying to Darwin on July 12.
FARRER IN A FIGHT TO CLING ON
|Farrer prop Jake Hinkelbein charges onto this ball as Woodlawn’s Chris Binge looks on.
|12 - 8
|TRIES : Andy Mack, Brett Jarrett
GOALS : Dominic Bower 2
|TRIES : Branston Brewer, Michael Thomas
FARRER Memorial Agricultural High School almost let slip a brilliant start to its Arrive alive Cup clash with Grafton’s St John’s College, Woodlawn at Farrer’s John Simpson Oval yesterday.
Farrer led 12-nil after just five minutes but then had to defend grimly in the second half to beat their young coastal adversaries 12-8.
Coached by former Canterbury NRL star Brian Battese, St John’s College Woodlawn gave Farrer its biggest scare of the season and only some outstanding and desperate defence stopped Woodlawn from upsetting the home side.
“Many of them are only 16,” Battese said after the game.
“And they tried things.
“They might not have come off but they went down fighting.”
Farrer started brilliantly after Woodlawn’s Chris Binge had kicked out on the full from the kick-off.
Woodlawn didn’t touch the ball again until after second-rowers Andy Mack and Brett Jarrett had scored tries for winger Dominic Bower to convert.
Ahead 12-nil, Farrer almost self-destructed as Woodlawn edged back into the game with a try to centre Branston Brewer, engineered by Binge, just before half-time.
10 minutes into the second half and a late tackle from Josh Dutton flattened his Woodlawn opponent.
A wild brawl erupted, at the end of which Dutton, Farrer halfback Jake Hawkins and Binge were all sin-binned for 10 minutes.
Not long after, Woodlawn winger Michael Thomas dived over in the corner to make it 12-8.
With 12 players on 11, Woodlawn had plenty of chances to score but a mixture of ill-judged runs and desperate Farrer defence enabled the home side to hold out.
Indeed, Brett Jarrett and Dutton were both held up over the line late in the game as Farrer fought off its determined foe.
Battese said his side overcame a bad start.
“I told them at half-time they’d done well to come back to 12-4,” he said.
“And I told them it was going to hurt in the second half if they wanted to win.
“And they threw everything at them – tried chip kicks and even a kick from a scrum.”
Fullback Tom Merritt, who plays first grade for Byron Bay, was outstanding and a constant menace, along with halfback Paul O’Neill, hooker Matt Nean, lock Peter Flannery (until injured) and the talented Binge.
Woodlawn lost tall young second-rower Damian Sironen (nephew of former Australian and Balmain star Paul Sironen) early in the first half with concussion as well as Flannery (shoulder).
Farrer coach Steve Cavanagh couldn’t believe the change in his side after its brilliant 12-nil start.
He said Farrer started well and impressed him with their patience.
“But ill-discipline cost us.
“To have two players have a rush of blood like that – those errors could have meant the end of the game for us.”
Cavanagh thought the prop rotation of Mack, Jake Hinkelbein (son of former West Tamworth and Newtown forward Gary), and Dominic Horne “worked really hard”.
Five-eighth Cameron Rogers was another to earn praise along with fullback Scott Blanch.
Winger Ryan Pooley also had an outstanding game, saving at least three tries with either timely interceptions or some cracking defence.
“Woodlawn are a good young side,” he said.
“I was just pleased with the way the boys hung in today.”
Farrer now plays St Pat’s Blacktown in the next round. “Hopefully here next Tuesday,” Cavanagh said.
KELLY WILL BLEED BLUE
|Untapped potential: Albert Kelly in action for his school Patrician Brothers College, Blacktown. Kelly will play in both the under 18s NSW State of Origin squad in Brisbane tomorrow night and the NSW CCC side in the Australian Secondary Schools tournament at Darwin next month.
Former Kempsey junior Albert Kelly will line up at five-eighth for the NSW under 18s when they meet Queensland in the precursor to State of Origin II at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane tomorrow.
Kelly and his team mates went into camp last Friday and flew into Brisbane on Sunday ahead of the clash with the Maroons.
The 17 year-old said he was expecting big things in his first Origin match.
“It’s going to be pretty awesome, the atmosphere is really huge up there,” Kelly said.
“This will be the fifth time I’ve played at Suncorp so I’m pretty used to it, but this is Origin and anything could happen.”
The call up to the NSW squad came as something of a surprise for the talented youngster, who now plies his trade with the Parramatta Eels in the SG Ball competition.
But under the guidance of Eels coach Joe Grima and playing alongside club mates Mitchel Johnson and Tim Auremi, Kelly won’t feel too out of place when he takes his spot on the paddock for tomorrow night’s clash.
“I kind of expected to be picked, people had been telling me how well I’d been playing in the lead-up,” he said.
“But it will be tough, Queensland will pick a big, strong side and they’ll bring their best for the game.”
Kelly said he wouldn’t be drawn in to the banter that traditionally precedes State of Origin matches, preferring to instead let his actions do the talking, but admitted he felt more nervous ahead of this match than he had when representing Australia.
“There’s probably more expected of you when you’re wearing a Blues jumper,” he said.
“Origin’s like the pinnacle of football in Australia.”
The talented youngster has also won selection in the NSW CCC (Combined Catholic Colleges) side to contest the ASSRL (Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League) finals to be played in Darwin from July 13-18.
Kelly, who attends Patrician Brothers College in Blacktown, will be under the tutelage of Mustangs first grade coach and St Paul’s College teacher Mark Morrison.
The team had its first hit out against a Wests Tigers academy squad last Saturday.
HOME GAMES SUCCESS
|Rylan Simms makes a break for Nobbies against Mungindi in front of a home crowd on Saturday.
What a great turn-out for our first home game of the year. A big thank you to the many helpers and supporters who offered input in staging an awesome family day out, in which14 games of footy were played.
“This success gives us a sniff of what’s to come with the upcoming carnival July 6 - 11.
“This carnival in July will showcase the cream of under-12 footballers from across Queensland eager to claim the title for 2008 in this five-day event.
“We need all the community support we can raise to make this carnival the best ever. We urge families who could assist is billeting visiting players to please offer your support. Other than the lack of billets the organisation and planning is running along smoothly thanks to the dedicated hand full of parents organising this event,” LRJRL president George McCormick, said.
Among the football we had the opportunity to host the nationally screened Bare foot Rugby League Show on the day. This has promoted our Junior Rugby League Club, players and community.
Host and former NRL star Wes Patten has indicated the possible return to Spider Brown Oval for the upcoming Queensland Zone five under-12 carnival planned for July 6 - 11.
The program is due to be aired on Austar channel 180 tomorrow or the following Thursday at 6.30pm. Thank you to Mr Chris ‘Gummy’ Lamb for organising the visit.
GAME ONE: The first game saw our Opals come up against our other Tiger Cub team the Diggers. Always a tough encounter as all Lightning Ridge under-8s are improving every week.
The Opals defended really well, with Ian Woodcock, Xhana Tishler, Ryan Brown and birthday boy Jett Tishler leading the way in defence. Some great runs were seen by Joshua Doctor and Lucy McBride. Winston McBride was outstanding, out pacing the opposition to run in four tries. Man-of-the-match Oscar Cheal pulled off some try saving tackles and had some great runs. All players ran the ball really well, tackled and show great teamwork.
FINAL SCORE OPALS 16 - NOBBIES 12
GAME TWO: A revved up Opals matched up against St George White in front of the home crowd. Another tough game, the Opals worked hard in defence to keep the Dragons out for the majority of the game. Jasmine Tooth scored a great try in the corner. Jett and Winston once again consistent in defence and attack, with Jett scoring two tries and Winston crossing the line for four.
In the last set Jailyn Webb off-loaded the ball for Winston to go over the try line to score for the Opals, well done and great teamwork Jailyn. Man-of-the-match Ryan Brown is becoming a player to be noticed, involved in every tackle and making valued metres with the ball. Congratulations to Winston McBride who was awarded the Harlequin Cafe ‘best on the day’.
FINAL SCORE OPALS 28 - 20
GAME ONE: Our first game put us up against our own. The Opals looked bigger and tougher than we remembered. With nine Nobbies players it meant we had one on the sideline and no one wanted to be there. Ben Smith, Cameron Summers, Luke Clauss, Doug Winch, Dylan Ciprian, Archer Holz, Madison Drew, Rylan Simms and Tom Barrett all had a great game.
We tried hard and kept it fairly even for most of the game, Archer scored two tries and Madison scored one.
The Opals got away by one, the end score was 16 - 12 to the Opals. Doug put in an enormous effort with his tackles and almost scored a try earning man of the match. Luke, Cameron, Rylan and Ben came close to getting over the line as well. Dylan, Maddy and Tom were unbelievable in defence.
GAME TWO: Mungindi. Nobbies focused, cranky for just missing out by one and hungry for the win.
We went in unforgivingly, fast and strong every player stepped up. Dan McIntosh came in after calling in sick for the first game. We didn’t look like the same team all were there in defence, back up and attack. Ben and Cameron scored one try each, Archer two and Rylan Simms came in for his first try of the season with the camera right on him. Cippo you were again the quiet achiever who is proving very valuable.
The final score Nobbies 24 - Mungindi 12. Man Of the Match Rylan Simms and the Harlequin Cafe ‘player of the day’ went to Archer Holz.
GAME ONE - Top-of-the-table under-10s matched up against the highly-regarded St George White team. In a fine start to the day the Tigers ran out 24 - 4 victors in a powerful team display. Patrick Knight earned himself man-of-the-match with intimidating bursts up the blind side making good ground every time he touched the ball. Good service from halves Bella McKenzie, Rory Cheal, Samuel Jackson-Bolton and Kyle McGovern had the St George defence in two minds and regularly on the back foot.
Standouts were Tom ‘Rambo’ O’Brien, Jake Henry, Jake Peden, Rusty Dean, Dallas Woodcock, Mitchell Cummings and Josh McCormick. Good team effort 10s.. LEARN MORE & READ ON
CUBS BRAVE AGAINST RED DEVILS
|Joshua Dykhoff-Darrington from the Under 7s White takes the ball up to Narooma.
Eden Tigers Minor Rugby League
The Tigers hosted the Narooma Red Devils at home this week.
Eden Tigers Under 7s Red and White
Max Beaven, Semisi Tui-Dow and Nikai Stewart all tackled well.
Tamika Millard, Jeremiah Bamblett scored tries, Joshua Dykoff-Darrington zig-zagged his way down the field to score a try.
Kynan Godfrey, Geoffrey Cook, Dave Swires and Ben Sandrey all had great ball skills.
The Red Devils went back to back to take on the Eden Under 7s Red side Semisi Tui-Dow and Jeremiah Bamblett both scoring tries, Joshua Dykoff-Darrington, Max Beaven and Will Ewin all having great runs up the middle.
Randall Ewin, Tamika Millard and Kendall Mylan did some great tackling.
Blake Mylan improved in all areas.
Sean MacGillivray took a hard-hitting tackle, and required a short rest, then came back to finish the game.
The coach's award went to Sean MacGillivray.. | LEARN MORE
SKY-BLUE JERSEY ISN’T THE LIMIT FOR HIGGINS
|LEAGUES ABOVE HIS AGE: Maitland student Liam Higgins will make his Origin debut as part of the NSW under-18s team that contests one of the curtain-raisers to the main game on Wednesday.
Liam Higgins is getting used to playing a standard of rugby league beyond his years, but admits a packed Suncorp Stadium will test his nerves.
Higgins, 17, has been selected in the NSW under-18s State of Origin team to play the Queensland under-18s in one of two State of Origin curtain raisers.
The All Saints College, St Mary’s Campus, Maitland student made his statement to selectors with a strong SG Ball season for the Newcastle Knights, a statewide competition for all players in the under-18s age group.
This is the first junior State of Origin opportunity for Higgins and he concedes the magnitude of the event will not be lost on him.
“This is pretty much the biggest stage you can get to at our age, I’m pretty rapt,” he said.
“Everyone’s going to be pretty fired up, I’d say there will definitely be nerves.”
But it is not the first time this Raymond Terrace hooker has been thrown in the deep end and risen to the challenge.
He was recently given the call-up for Raymond Terrace’s first grade team where at 82kg, he admits he was given a brutal introduction.
“First grade was heaps more physical and heaps quicker,” he said.
“You are playing against full grown adults. I struggled a bit in the first game, but handled it better in the second.”
The NSW team was selected from all junior NRL clubs, as is the Queensland side, giving young players an opportunity to get a taste of interstate rugby league before they consider a career in the NRL.
That is exactly the plan for this rugby league devotee.
“That is the plan, to go on playing professionally if I can,” he said.
Higgins will go into the NSW camp in Sydney this weekend before flying to Brisbane on Sunday ahead of Wednesday’s match.
PEACHEY AMAZED BY TALENT
|IN DEMAND: David Peachey signs an autograph for Brodie Christopherson at the regional Peachey Shield carnival at Endeavour Oval.
FORMER NRL star David Peachey was in Orange on Wednesday to watch the regional qualifiers for the Peachey Shield - and claimed some of the kids running around were not just talented but “complete packages”.
Primary schools from around Orange competed in the Year 5-6 Peachey Shield and Year 3-4 Richardson Cup at Endeavour Oval.
Calare Public School beat out Orange Public School 8-4 in the regional final of the Peachey Shield, named after David Peachey, while OPS were again unsuccessful in the Richardson Cup final, going down to St Joseph’s 12-8.
“The Peachey Shield final was a real good game of footy,” ARL development officer Mick Armstrong said.
Peachey thought the standard of play throughout the carnival was strong and marvelled at how it differed from his junior playing days.
“It was good football and that’s what we’ve seen over probably the last four or five weeks here,” he said.
“The kids have got exceptional talent now and you sort of look back when you were younger and just (think) some of these kids are just complete packages, which is good.”
The winners and runners-up from both competitions now go on to play in Dubbo on July 3 for the silverware against other regional winners from around the west.
Peachey has had more opportunities to get out and watch his carnival after retiring from the NRL after playing with South Sydney last season.
The silky ball-runner, who has continued playing this year with Group 11 side Dubbo Macquarie, is at a loss to explain why his former club is performing so poorly this season after making the finals in 2007 for the first time in 18 years.
“I honestly don’t know,” Peachey answered when asked what has happened to Souths this season.
“I think once they get the harmony right, they’re not too far away from putting a few wins together.”
The former Sharks and Souths star also revealed some people have suggested he should don the famous Rabbitohs strip again to help get the foundation club off the bottom of the ladder.
“Yeah, there has (been requests to play again) but my days are behind me now,” he said.
CAN SANDOW SAVE SOUTHS
|Rabbitohs hope ... Chris Sandow will give desperate fans a snapshot of the future when he debuts against the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium. / The Daily Telegraph
|Chris Sandow in action agaist Wales on the '06 Schoolboys Tour (Photo : ourfooty media)
THEY'VE dubbed him the Aboriginal Alfie - a roguish Queensland mission boy now charged with saving Souths.
Boom Rabbitoh Chris Sandow will give desperate fans a snapshot of the future tonight when he finally debuts against the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium.
Labelled a better Australian Schoolboy prospect than even Mitchell Pearce and Israel Folau, he now has the chance to prove it in the Bunnies' plagued No.7 jersey.
"I have no doubt Chris can lift Souths out of the doldrums,'' Fox Sports commentator Scott Sattler said last night. "He was Queensland's No.1 halfback in his teens and a kid you just knew was going to make it to the top.
"This time next year ... I think everyone will be talking about Chris Sandow.''
North of the border it seems everyone already has a story about this Murri from Cherbourg, the same mission town that produced Australian Test centre Willie Tonga.
Like how Sandow and Folau played with Centenary in the Brisbane competition, winning a junior final with 11 players and a female coach.
"He's definitely got that Alfie Langer about him,'' Australian Schoolboys coach Brendan Barlow said. "A lot of people doubted Chris because he is so small.
"But you only need see his competitiveness and skill. His short kicking game is definitely his biggest asset ... he knows how to get that ball back.''
Still only 19, there has already been plenty of drama too. Brisbane, for example, said the 173cm Sandow was too small. Ditto North Queensland. And the Gold Coast signed him to a lucrative contract ... only to tear it up again before the deal was up.
"Chris had a few problems off the field,'' said Sattler, who was Titans football manager in their inaugural season. "He was going home a fair bit, no one could find him and we had to terminate his contract because we couldn't afford to bend the rules.
"But he was too good a player to throw on the scrapheap and thankfully South Sydney picked him up. Getting away from Queensland was the best thing for him. I have no doubt letting him go will come back to hurt the club, but sometimes you have to do these things.''
Climbing on to a plane for Auckland last night, Souths Toyota Cup coach Alan Wilson described Sandow as "a clever little halfback with great awareness''.
Wilson said the No.7 also had a goalkicking success rate of 84 per cent this year - and four of his misses have hit the uprights''.
CHAMPION GROUP 10 OUTFIT IS READY TO BE CHALLENGED
|The Group 10 under 13s side (pictured) were presented with medals on the weekend for winning the Country Rugby League Southern Cluster Championships last month. Pictured are (back) Omar Abdel-Rehim (Lithgow), Luke Morris (Lithgow), Sam Sweeting (CYMS), Kane Ratcliffe (Bloomfield), Dylan Toole (St Pat’s), Harrison Muller (CYMS), Josh Robbins (Bloomfield), Jarrod Robbins (Bloomfield), Dylan Jones
GROUP 10 under 13s coach Cranston Kerr wants to keep challenging his players.
The under 13s side were presented with medals on Sunday for winning the Country Rugby League Southern Cluster Championships last month.
The championships were meant to be their last representative event but Kerr has other ideas.
The side, which includes three players each from Orange CYMS and Bloomfield, will go to Sydney soon to play development games.
“They’ll play against Western Suburbs, St Mary’s, Illawarra Division and Manly,” Kerr said.
“I see a lot of potential in these kids which is why I’m organising these games in Sydney. I’d like to challenge them.”
Kerr said he expected the side to be competitive when they went to the Cluster Championships.
The boys were more than that.
Group 10 defeated Group 9 36-8, downed Group 20 36-10 and drew with Group 11 4-all.
The Group 10 side won the championship on their points differential.
Kerr said they are an easy side to coach.
“There’s plenty of individual talent but they also have the ability to transfer it into a team environment,” he said.
“That makes the coachability even better. They’re running around like an under 18s side.”
Kerr and the players were grateful to all their supporters and sponsors who assisted them during the Cluster Championships.
STANNIES NOW A LEAGUE NURSERY
|NEW TERRITORY: James Toole (opens) Brady Cheshire (under 15s), Sam George (opens), Robbie Mortimer (under 15s) and James Woolmington (under 15s) have all been selected to represent the NSW Combined Independent Schools rugby league side in their respective divisions in the coming month, belying the school's rugby union reputation. Photo: PHILL MURRAY
FOR years St Stanislaus College has boasted a reputation as one of the premier rugby union breeding grounds in NSW, but the Bathurst school has gained some different bragging rights in recent times.
Having begun to embrace rugby league, the status of the school as an emerging league power was confirmed on the weekend when five players were selected to the open and under 15 NSW Combined Independent Schools sides.
Playmakers Sam George and James Toole, both of whom are key players for Bathurst Panthers under 18s in Group 10, were selected to the 20-strong squad for the Australian Schoolboys Rugby League Championships in July.
Joining them will be Panthers under 15s prop/second rower Brady Cheshire, St Pat’s three-quarter James Woolmington, and half-back Robbie Mortimer, son of former Bulldogs and NSW representative, Peter Mortimer.
The latter three will all run out for the under 15s side which will contest their championship on June 26 in Brisbane.
Both competitions will feature CIS, Combined Catholic College and Combined High School sides from NSW and Queensland, from where a national side will also be selected.
All five players were nominated by Stannies to attend the selection trials in Sydney on the weekend, held at Narabeen.
Stannies rugby league official Paul McDonald was understandably proud of the five students, as well as the progress the school is making in general when it comes to the 13-a-side code.
“As well as the selection announcements, we have our opens side in the last 64 of the Arrive Alive Cup, and we have a game coming up against a Melbourne school for a spot in the final 64,” McDonald said. “We now have a lot of boys coming here from feeder schools because rugby league is offered. We like them to play rugby union but they don’t have to.”
McDonald said areas west of Bathurst were beginning to understand that Forbes’ Red Ben Catholic College is not the only league nursery in the Central West.
“It [league] is here to stay. The boys get to compete, and the rugby union coaches are appreciative of the contact skills, and both codes are being enhanced,” he said.
UNDER 7'S WHITE PUT IN THE HARD YARDS
|Luke Cheney making one of his big runs
Well the boys certainly had their work cut out for them on the weekend with a hard game against St Pats White in Bathurst.
With pea soup fog and a chill to the air the boys got off to a pretty slow start.
Two of our key players, Mayson McPaul and Anthony Pond had a rough trip to Bathurst suffering a bad dose of car sickness and did not have that usual look of determination in their eyes.
As the game heated up, so did the boys and their love for footy was soon back in their eye.
The boys were knocked back a peg or two with some hard running and offloading by the opposition putting us four points behind at the first break.
After a quick drink and a pep talk, the boys headed back out onto the field full of confidence and enthusiasm.
Lachlan Kelly continues to improve, making some excellent runs with the ball and nearly landed himself a try but was pulled up just short of the line.
Travis Farrell and Luke Cheney put in some hard yards with some big impressive runs and hit ups.
The tackles got more effective as the game went on and Anthony, James, Conner and Mayson really started to help each other with the ball and with the tackles to frustrate the opposition.
The score was level as we went into our third and final section of the game.
The final third saw our boys really take control of their game, running together, tackling together and resulted in St Pats White making more errors with the ball.
Some quick thinking, after picking up the odd loose ball saw our boys scoot away a number of times to score.
The energy and support from the sideline was outstanding and you could see the boys’ game really lift with the support and cheering from parents and grandparents.
Ryan Kelly was one the opposition found hard to stop.
He aggravated them by scoring three sensational tries.
Anthony Pond, car sick and all put two tries on the board for Blayney and kicked one goal, Mayson McPaul as well as being sick pulled off one try and one goal, Connor England scored one try and kicked one goal and James Parfett kicked one goal.
Four tries to one in the final third saw our boys come away with a hard fought win. The final score was Blayney 36 to St Pats White 24.
UNDER 20S TALENT TO MAKE FIRST GRADE DEBUT
|Pictured: Daniel Abraham takes on the Panthers in round 12 at Dairy Farmers Stadium. Photo : Cowboys
Cowboys Toyota Cup Under 20s player Nick Slyney will make his first grade debut this Saturday against Wests Tigers in Campbelltown.
Only a few months ago Slyney was playing league on the Atherton Tablelands and decided to trial for the Cowboys at the beginning of the season.
According to NQ Toyota Cowboys Coach Ian Millward, Slyney's selection is a result of hard work and talent.
"[Nick] turns up to trials, was not contracted then worked his way into the squad then into the team. It’s very impressive the way he has manoeuvred his way into first grade," Millward said.
"He came to the club to get a run on the bench for the under 20s and eventually he has worked his way through the grades. He is outstanding, enthusiastic, has a high work rate. He has got a lot of potential."
Millward yesterday announced a number of changes to the team that went down to Penrith by one point in round 12.
Justin Smith and Steve Southern have been ruled out with shoulder injuries, Johnathan Thurston is on Origin duty and Luke O’Donnell is on suspension.
Travis Burns moves to the half back position with Daniel Abraham to five eighth. Sam Faust starts at lock forward and Jacob Lillyman and Slyney are the second rowers.
Anthony Watts, Matt Bartlett and Sione Faumuina are on the bench and Scott Bolton has been named as 18th man.
The NQ Toyota Cowboys play Wests Tigers in round 13 this Saturday at Campbelltown, with kick-off at 7.30pm.
LITTLE RAIDERS THRILL BLUETONGUE
|Blue Haven Raiders getting it on
The Raiders U/8s delivered fantastic footy and pre-game entertainment playing Wyong before the NRL match between South Sydney and the Melbourne Storm Saturday 24th May.
Our little legends represented the mighty Raiders, the Blue Haven and surrounding communities with outstanding footy and good sportsmanship. For the record the Raiders won 2 tries to 1.
On Thursday 22nd May, the NRL Premiers attended Raiders club training at Blue Haven Oval. The excitment was shared between the children and their families including many from the Blue Haven and surrounding communities.
The Storm players presented a wonderful spectical that will be entrenched within many young memories for many years. The NRL stars gladly signed Posters, Raiders training t-shirts and posed for Photo's.
Raiders Recieve Award :
The ARL Development website of the week award highlights some of those clubs who have either done an exceptional job at keeping their website up to date and full of useful information for their members, as well as providing a positive experience for those viewing the site.
|NATURAL TALENT: Max Russell leads the Central Coast rugby league under-19 player of the year race as a back-rower, but also shines as a first grade rugby winger for Kariong.- Picture by Richard Gosling
A VERSATILE footballer who excels at both rugby union and rugby league is the best and fairest leader in The Sun Weekly-sponsored under-19 rugby league competition.
Ourimbah's Max Russell, 17, leads on 11 points from Brett Sonter (Umina), Michael Creamer (Terrigal) and Cody Creevey (Erina), all on eight points.
Max plays at lock or second-row for Ourimbah under-19s, then switches to the wing when he plays for Kariong in the local first grade rugby union competition.
He was introduced to rugby union when asked by officials to trial for the Central Coast rugby union schoolboys team.
Undeterred by the extra training involved, Russell registered with the Kariong club and after just two games was chosen in the club's first grade team.
Last season Russell won the district under-17 best and fairest player award and until injured last season was also a member of Balmain's SG Ball league squad.
"Ourimbah's a great club and I really enjoy playing for the Magpies," he said.
Russell is a year 11 student at Henry Kendall High School and must rate as one of the fittest players on the Coast.
PEACHEY HELPS RAIDERS RUFFLE ROOSTERS’ FEATHERS
|Former NRL player David Peachey makes a break for Macquarie Raiders against the Cobar Roosters in Dubbo yesterday. In a top-of-the-table clash the Raiders flogged the visitors 48-nil, leaving both sides equal first on the Group 11 ladder.
||48 - 0
|TRIES : Peter Boon 2, Daniel Bain, Vasutosa Apensia, Kinni Tanaulucavu, Darren Jackson, Ash Conn, Chris Thompson, John Croft
GOALS : Damon Goolagong 4, Craig Roworth 2
For Macquarie Raiders fans it didn’t matter whether it was the presence of David Peachey, the rugged defence of their 17 players across the paddock, or a bit of luck here or there, it was the 48-0 scoreline over the previously unbeaten Cobar Roosters that mattered.
The first 40 minutes produced 20 points, but against a side that before yesterday had averaged nearly 60 points a game, one thought it ‘may’ not be enough.
However, any hopes Cobar had of getting back into the match evaporated when the Raiders ran in three tries in the first 20 minutes after oranges, and the game was all over bar the shouting.
“Our form today wasn’t a fluke, that was the way they trained during the week and last week against Parkes they showed it was getting better,” coach Jim Kelly said.
“Each week we’ve been improving bit by bit and you’ve seen today what the side is capable of.
“It wasn’t until mid way through the second half that we accepted that we had the game won, you can never be complacent against a class side like Cobar - they will be back you can rest assured.”
Having Peachey at five-eighth was a master stroke and the more times he can get home from his home base in Sydney, the better the Raiders will be.
Every time he touched the ball he had someone willing to run and in the end Cobar had no answer as the Raiders were credited with nine unanswered tries.
It didn’t matter whether it was their sharp attack or definite defensive attitude, the Raiders had all the answers.
Their work in numbers to restrict the effectiveness of try-scoring prop Steve Lyons was a feature and that defence was probably the reason why the Cobar handling became sloppy in the closing stages.
For Cobar captain-coach Peter Ford it was a disappointing result but he would have plenty to take away from the 80 minutes that brought their unbeaten run to an end.
“The more we tried, the further we got behind,” Ford said.
“They were obviously on their game today and I don’t know whether we weren’t switched on or not, but it wasn’t our day.
“I’m not going to stand here and make excuses, the better side won and we’ve now got to come up with the answers the next time we meet.”
There wasn’t a weak link in the Macquarie side but one of their best players off the bench was second-rower Chris Thompson who scored a try, had a hand in another and despite his stature never stopped taking the ball up.
His interchange presence is one of the reasons why the Raiders are going so well.
A general bye in Tooheys Group 11 next week will be a bonus for all sides.
MUST BE A RECORD
|Gene DuBOIS, Reece DAVIDSON & Zac Wedersweiler in action for De la Salle Under 15 A's this year (Photo ani by : ourfooty media)
Story By :
Great Rugby League stories are hard to come by these days, but De la Salle Caringbah who play in the Cronulla - Sutherland Junior League certainly have a good news story to tell the world about.
The De la Salle Under 15A's have 3 NSW representitives playing for three different teams in this years Australian schoolboys Under 15's Championships in Brisbane at the end of this month.
Zac Wedersweiler a big & mobile front rower has been selected to play for NSW CCC under 15's
Reece Davidson a hard working second rower and son of former Cronulla legend Les, has been selected to play in the NSW CHS team.
Gene DuBois, another forward has been selected to play for NSW CIS.
When was the last time 3 kids got picked to play in 3 different teams to play each other at a National Championships?
De la Salle U 15A's coach Andrew McLennan is proud of the boys, "yeah i wish the boys all the best for the comp, they will go good up there ( in Brisbane)"
These 3 members of the De la Salle under 15A's will be playing against each other at the ASSRL Championships to be played at Wynnum in Brisbane starting on the 29 th June.
Zac Wedersweiler played at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday with his NSW CCC Under 15 team in their first 'Hit-out' together in a game against a Wests Development squad.
NSW CCC GET READY FOR AUSSIE CHAMPIONSHIPS
After last weeks very successful New South Wales Combined Catholic College's state trials, both the under 15's & under 18's had their first hit out in preparation for the Australian Schoolboys Championships.
NSW CCC were hosted by the Balmain Tigers at Leichhardt Oval, the under 15's took on a combined Wests Development squad. The Wests team had only just got together and had not spent any time together as a team.
The Wests boys took to the field keen for a game of rep footy.
NSW CCC under 15's hit the field full of confidence after a marathon training session on Saturday at Patrician Brother's College Blacktown. NSW CCC under 15's coach Mick Lewis who was also the successful Premiership winning coach of the Parramatta Harold Matthews Cup side said " the boys trained very well yesterday " (Sat).
Just for the record NSW CCC were easy winners 26 - 8 and let Wests in for a couple of good late team tries.
NSW CCC have players from the far reaches of NSW & today showcased some of the best talent in the Catholic Education System at Leichhardt Oval and the boys controlled the game as expected..
PLAYERS BROKEN AND BUSTED
|Battered and busted ... injured under 20's Roosters rugby league player Ben Jones at the Sydney Football Stadium. Photograph: Brett Costello / The Daily Telegraph
|Ben Jones (bottom row) at this years NRL Rookie Camp (Photo : ourfooty media)
BEN Jones is a wreck. Burnt out and busted. The Roosters' emerging halfback is just 17, but his body is scarred like an NRL veteran one game away from the scrap heap.
Jones has played a staggering 98 games in just two years. Thirty-eight rep games, 60 school games and all the club games no one has counted.
With sufficient healing time and the benefits of youth, he should recover. But for now, he has been banned from playing schoolboy rugby league.
And Jones is not alone.
An investigation by The Saturday Daily Telegraph into junior football has revealed teenagers across the country are breaking down, with elite players at this week's NSW CHS carnival playing six games of football in just eight days.
Some kids, like Mitchell Pearce did last year, are playing 60 games a year. A war has erupted between NRL clubs and the Education Department - teachers want their best players playing, and NRL clubs want to protect their investments.
* Weight division demand: players driven to AFL
"The end result is we have tired, broken-down footballer on our hands,'' said Roosters recruitment boss Peter O'Sullivan.
"Jones, for example, has back injuries, groin injuries and broken bones. It is just because he has played so much football. We can all read it in his body language. He has just had too much football.''
Noel "Crusher'' Cleal rushed to a Catholic school trial last Saturday and went off like a Chinese fire-cracker. The Manly recruitment manager's prized under-20s halfback, Kieran Foran, was playing in a schoolboy match just 14 hours after turning out for the Sea Eagles in a Toyota Cup match.
He had a fat lip, a bruised jaw and, according to Cleal, should have been in an ice bath - not on the football field. Foran had been told not to play, but he took the field anyway.
Our best teenage footballers are playing in up to nine bone-breaking competitions. Here is the worst-case scenario for a public school student:
The University Shield (NSWCHS, nine games); The Arrive Alive Cup (Australian Combined Schools, 10 games); SG Ball (NSWRL, 12 games); Toyota Cup (NRL, 29 games); NSW age (NSWRL, 1 game); Sydney Combined High Schools carnival (1 game); NSWCHS Carnival (3 games); Australian Schoolboys Carnival (6 games); and the Australian Schoolboys tour (4 games).
Emerging Sea Eagles prop James Cunningham could end up playing in every one of them: 73 games.
"It is not healthy for these kids,'' admits Knights coach Brian Smith, a former school teacher. "It is not just all the games but it is the training that goes with it. I am a big supporter of school football, I haven't forgotten my own background, but getting the balance right between all the people who want a piece of them needs to be worked out.
"The kids are playing way too much. Their bodies are under great pressures because they are teenagers and their bodies are developing, and then there is mental fatigue. Everybody has to realise the best thing for the kids isn't to be playing 70 games a year, they need to be selective.''
Professionalism has created big boys. Giant teenagers with frames dripping muscle. A schoolboy game is now almost on par with an NRL match, with 100kg wrecking balls clashing in impacts akin to a car crash.
And the stars of the future need time to recover. "When all the schoolboy football started 20 years ago, the kids were 60 or 70 kilos,'' O'Sullivan said. "Now they are in professional NRL systems doing weights every day. They are men and they are playing a high standard of football, sometimes four or five games in three days.
"They just can't do it. NRL players couldn't do it. It is getting to a stage where we are going to lose players out of the game, at young ages. They are just going to walk away.''
Rising schoolboy star Brad Murray was last week summoned to a meeting at Matraville High School. With his manager Sam Ayoub in tow, last year's Arrive Alive Cup winners attempted to poach the young halfback from his Catholic School, Holy Spirit, Lakemba.
It shows how serious schools take winning. With $10,000 on offer for the winner of the Arrive Alive Cup and a surge in enrolment common the following year, rugby league can put a school on the map.
Sport is being taken very seriously. But some, at least off the record, say schoolboy football is no longer relevant. That it should only be played by kids not signed by NRL clubs.
Or not at all.
"All the best kids are in systems by the time they are 13,'' said one Sydney club official. "In terms of their development, they get everything they need in the NRL system. They are just getting taught bad habits and getting injured. And for what?
"Some kids are knocking back NRL contracts because they want to play Australian schoolboys instead of Toyota Cup. They will end up missing out on the NRL because they are behind the eight-ball.
"Schoolboy football is just doing them harm. Take the schoolboy tour, it's a wasted two months. The kids should be with an NRL club having a pre-season and preparing their bodies.''
St George Illawarra star Chase Stanley played football for Endeavour Sports High School from Year 7 to Year 11. Teachers at the school were left fuming when the Dragons banned him from playing in his final year.
All of a sudden they were without their star player. A player they had developed. Australian schoolboys coach Brendon Barlow is adamant that it should be the powerful NRL clubs that miss out.
"When they are at school they should be playing for their school,'' Barlow said. "Obviously some kids are playing too much football. We need to handle it. There isn't one body that controls it. Each body has their own agenda. The ARL need to step in and set some rules. We need a cap set and it needs to come from them.
"I do think the kids should be playing for their schools and you can't every take anything away from the Australian Schoolboys. Making that side is a very big honour.''
Some schools have even accused NRL clubs of using them as baby-sitters. "They have welfare requirements and rather than helping them find a career path, they dump them in school,'' said a Sydney PE teacher. "It is the easy option for them.''
Craig Miller spent Wednesday night watching his son cover his body with ice. Jacob Miller had just played his seventh game in eight days. "It is very unreal to be honest,'' Miller said. "He should only be playing once a week but he is playing three or four games.
"He plays rep football and then goes back and plays for his school and local club. He feels like he has to. He won't listen to me when I tell him not to because he wants to keep all of his coaches happy. He actually came back last night and I had to give him a massage, he was sore everywhere. Not in good shape at all."
O'Sullivan has re-ignited the weight-for-age debate, saying some of the game's best potential talent is being forced out of rugby league. "The islander kids are very big at a young age,'' O'Sullivan said.
"And they are dominating teams because of their size. Smaller kids, with very good skills, are being overlooked or quitting because of the threat of injury. There needs to be a weight limit, and kids who are over should go up one age group.''
ST MARY’S STUDENTS LEAGUES AHEAD OF THE PACK
|IN FORM: St Mary’s is home to top rugby league talent, with selectors naming (back) Ethan McKenzie, Jay Stevens, Robbie Rochow, (front) Michael Gavan, Liam Higgins, Luke Stewart, Taylor Matthews and Hayden Crouch in two representative sides at a recent trial event in Sydney.
St Mary’s High School has emerged with some of the NSW Catholic school system’s best rugby league talent.
Jay Stevens, Liam Higgins and Taylor Matthews all made the cut for the NSW Catholic Colleges under-18s team.
Stevens, Higgins and Matthews stood out when the Northern Country Combined Catholic Colleges (CCC) team played its trial in Sydney on May 21. More than 120 boys from Catholic schools across the State turned out to compete for a berth in the side.
The State selection represents the fourth level in the NSW Catholic Schools representative sport system, granting the boys a shot at making the Australian Schoolboys side later in the year.
In a double-barrelled selection trial, the NSW Country CCC team was also named on the back of that performance, with St Mary’s classmates Luke Stewart, Michael Gavan, Ethan McKenzie, Robbie Rochow, Tom Atkinson and Hayden Crouch all making the cut.
Stevens, Higgins and Matthews will fly to Darwin for their shot at the National side on July 13.
AQUINAS COLLEGE WIN AAC FINAL
|Aquinas College Menai & Cronulla High School after today's Arrive alive Cup final (Photo's : ourfooty media)
Aquinas College Menai were too good for a tough Cronulla HS with an impressive 18 - 0 victory in today Arrive alive Cup Cronulla Region final at Endeavour Field.
A big crowd of parents and excited school kids watched a good game of footy between this year regional finalists of the Arrive alive Cup.
Crounlla High had good enthusium from the start of the game, they just didnt have anyone who took control of the game and lacked some of the skills of the Aquinas College side.
|ISLANDERS 'TOO BIG' FOR LEAGUE
Battle of the codes ... Angad Roy (AFL), Jackson Peterson (league) and Patrick Minda (soccer).
CONCERNED rugby league officials are demanding an immediate switch to weight divisions - fearing the Polynesian player explosion is driving smaller players straight into the clutches of AFL.
As the battle for Sydney's sporting west intensifies, a special league task force is studying ways to keep schoolboys in the code.
Penrith Juniors chief executive officer Don Feltis, a task force member who oversees the state's biggest junior league, insisted reviving weight divisions was a major part of the plan.
"About 40 per cent of our players are Polynesian - over at Parramatta it's the same," Mr Feltis said.
"And if those numbers keep increasing we're going to have a problem where a lot of the smaller, white players are driven out of the game.
"Kids will leave rugby league for Australian Rules - a code that has warned it will spend $28 million in Sydney's west between now and 2011.
"I know they've already sunk a couple of million into Penrith and Blacktown councils and league needs to combat that.
"We can't sit around waiting until 2011 . . . if we can get support I'll start weight divisions tomorrow."
Sydney schoolyards have been steadily transforming into battlefields this winter as officials from league, AFL and soccer vie for hearts and minds.
And one of the determining factors is size.
While Polynesian power has exploded on the NRL in 2008, Sydney parents are far less impressed when poor Johnny is trampled beneath a set of size 10 boots.
"And if a kid isn't happy playing league, he might try another code, yes," ARL official Graham McNaney agreed.
"But our main focus on weight divisions isn't about what other codes are doing. It's about making league enjoyable, safe and keeping as many young players in the game as possible."
Feltis and McNaney were part of a delegation that visited Auckland in 2006 to study their use of weight divisions.
The ensuing program, done in conjunction with the Childrens Hospital at Westmead, has a series of Sydney high school carnivals run on the basis of age and weight.
Divisions are 12 years (55kg), 14 years (65kg) and 16 years (75kg).
And the groups could soon be part of a new western Sydney league strategy involving a new academy at Blacktown, 15 development officers and increased funding.
"We'd like parents to encourage clubs to get involved with the weight divisions," NSWRL development manager Marty Meredith said.
"It's been running successfully in New Zealand for 16 years and we're confident the same thing can happen here."
Still the battle rages.
Lynn Brydon insists the weight debate is turning kids toward her Penrith Swans Rules club, where she has been an official for 10 years.
"You can compare two eight-year-old boys and there will be a 10kg difference," she said.
"I wouldn't want my son in that situation."
|FARRER SKIPPER WINS CHS SPORT FOR SECOND YEAR
FARRER’S Scott Blanch has been enlisted for NSW Combined High Schools duty for the second year, topping off a better final-day State Championship showing from Greater Western.
The U15s recorded a 20-10 win over Sydney Red at Myuna Bay yesterday to complete their championship, while the opens led at half-time before faltering 30-20.
That was also against Sydney Red and coach Tim Vaughan said everyone jumped three gears on their previous performances.
“We led 14-8 at half-time and it was only in the last five minutes they scored a couple of tries to overhaul us,” Vaughan said.
“We were the better side for the majority of the game but we just couldn’t finish off.”
“But it was a much improved effort. After two heavy defeats they turned their game around.”
Glen Innes’s Joel Jackson and Nick Eshman, and Narrabri’s Sean Russ were among Greater Western’s tryscorers, while Farrer’s Jake Hawkins added a conversion.
“It just goes to show there’s not a lot between the city and country players on ability, it’s just that they’re used to the speed of the game,” Vaughan said.
“It takes our guys a couple of days to get into it.”
He felt his best yesterday were Eshman, Farrer’s Josh Dutton and Blanch.
The Farrer First XIII skipper will now head to Darwin for the Australian Championships later in the year where he will fill a role as a utility back.
That was the same job he held for the side last year.
“He’ll do a good job for them and I’m pleased for him,” Vaughan said.
“There might have been one or two others who were close too.”
Blanch was the only player from the region to receive a call-up to the State side, with Greater Western’s two U15 representatives hailing from the Western region.
Yesterday Blanch’s school-mates Jack Pawley and Jack Broughton, and Wee Waa’s Blake Pawley accounted for three of Greater Western’s five-try tally in a game the Steve Porter-coached side led throughout.
Porter said the side played extremely well and really stepped up their game, singling out Broughton and Blake Pawley as two of the standouts
|APRIL 2008 | MAY 2008 |
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