TAMWORTH U14 boys will begin their national championship campaign with a State Championship assault in Wagga Wagga this weekend.
The championships will be a stopover for the boys en route to Brisbane and the nationals, and coach Ian Moxon believes his side has the ability to make it through to the semi-finals.
It will be a question of how well they adapt to the new rules that have been brought in specifically for the 14s.
“Hopefully they can take to the new rules. If they take to the new rules they’ll be okay,” Moxon said.
The new rules have been introduced for development purposes and to promote more attack.
Among the notable rule changes are that you can’t just pick up and shoot if you get fouled outside the five.
You’ve also got to full press, and can’t double mark the sit.
The most crucial change as far as Tamworth is concerned though is that all players must play a full quarter before half-time.
That will really test their depth, and Moxon feels it is a bit detrimental to regional teams compared to the Sydney-based teams that have a lot more players to pick from.
He said they’ve got a pretty good draw. They’ve got the second sides from Sydney Uni and Cronulla, as well as Hunter and Wests.
They have a fair idea about what to expect from Hunter after playing them a couple of weeks ago.
At the start of their preparation they won the inaugural Country title. Since then, Moxon said they’ve picked up all over.
They’ve picked up their fitness level, although that could still be better, and their skill level.
Some of them Moxon said have also grown physically.
He couldn’t be much happier with their preparation and said it’s probably the strongest 14s team Tamworth has had for a few years.
It will be a big week for them.
They’ll turn straight around from the state championships and head to Brisbane for the nationals.
“We leave there Sunday, get back to Tamworth on Monday and have to be in Brisbane by Tuesday,” Moxon said.
It has been a big undertaking and Moxon was very thankful to the people who have supported them.