Northern Inland raring to go

NORTHERN Inland selectors have had a busy week.

Under 14s and 16s trials were played at Gunnedah on Sunday and, in addition to announcing the NI U16s side earlier this week, selectors have also revealed Northern Inland under 14s and 15s teams.

The 14s will tackle Hunter Valley on December 9 in Tamworth in a trial to select the Central North U14s for the Kookaburra Cup carnival in January.

The NI U15s won’t progress to Central North level but still have something to look forward to.

After winning the Macquarie Generation Cup at Raymond Terrace last summer, the NI 15s will return to defend the title in January.

Selectors looked at players involved in the under 16s trial who are still eligible for the under 15s and added a few players from the Northern Inland junior league.

“It fills in the gap between under 14s and 16s,” selector Kel Walls said.

“It’s also a good chance to see the players who are coming through for the Bradman Cup and under 17s for next year.

“We went away last year to Raymond Terrace and won it, so that’s why we have to go back again this year.”

The carnival will be held from January 14-17.

Armidale’s Lachlan Elks will lead the side and, along with Tingha’s Sage Cook and Deepwater’s Perry Stapleton, was also named in the Northern Inland Bradman Cup side.

Elks and Stapleton were also both involved in the trials for the Central North U17s side earlier in the year.

Should the three make the Central North side, they’ll be in for a busy couple of weeks, with the Bradman Cup running from January 7-10.

The Kookaburra Cup will be held at Manning Valley the same time as the U15s carnival.

Northern Inland selectors feel they’ve got a strong all- round side to take on Hunter Valley in next month’s trial, with Narrabri’s Ryan Meppem to lead it.

He’ll be joined by Narrabri team-mates Cobie Cornish and Nathan Trindall, and players from Tamworth, Gunnedah, Moree and Inverell.

The side also includes national indoor team representative Jaiden Tasker.

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