CENTRAL North U20s coaches Garry Walsh and Barry Everingham are excited about their side’s potential at this weekend’s NRMA Country Championships in Mudgee.
The Kookaburras will field arguably its strongest 20s side for a number of years.
Almost half the side have had first grade experience, with several regular first graders, and three of the side - captain Harry Veitch, Mikey Carr and Darcy Barker – making the Country 20s side.
They’ll all play in a forward pack that Walsh likes the look of.
“That back row is pretty good,” Walsh said.
The second row is also handy, although they do lack a bit of height.
“We’re going to have to be versatile with our throws,” he said.
“We don’t have big jumpers.
They’ve also got plenty of grunt up front with Carr, Will Robinson and Tyler Gallienne.
“Tyler’s getting better,” Walsh said.
“It’s the fittest he’s been.
“He’s had a year of grade football.”
Will Robinson is also getting better, while Carr has just returned from a year in New Zealand.
“We’ve got enough firepower there to do something with the ball, if we can control it,” he said.
He and Everingham were spoilt for choice for options in the centres and outside backs and had some tough decisions to make.
Scone’s Tom Smart has been listed as inside centre.
He usually plays half-back but defends well in the centre channel.
Walsh said they thought he’d be good there with Keegan Loughrey.
Loughrey has really stood out in the trials.
“He can beat a defender and likes working to the outside shoulder,” Walsh said.
With Zeb Buchannan then at 10, that’s a strong midfield defensive unit.
Outside of them Ned O’Neill-Shaw and Nathaniel Slater are good finishers. Slater showed some great footwork to score in the trial against New England.
Then they’ve got the likes of Troy Martin to make an impact off the bench.
Martin has showed how damaging he can be through the trials but just hasn’t been able to finish off, Walsh said.
They’ve also got good counter-attacking capabilities with Slater, O’Neill-Shaw and George Rixon.
“I’m pretty excited about the style of football we can play,” he said.