ANDREW Kellaway was one of the revelations of last year’s National Rugby Championship and will be looking to sparkle for the Country Eagles when they tackle the Sydney Stars at Ken Chillingworth Oval today.
Aptly-nicknamed ‘The Fire’, the 19-year-old redhead was electric out wide for the Eagles and finished the top tryscorer for the inaugural competition.
He’d just finished playing trivia master when The Leader spoke to him on the bus trip up and was excited about playing out in the bush again.
“I think it’s great we’re getting out to the country and bringing some pretty high- class footy out here,” he said.
Eagles coach Darren Coleman echoed those thoughts.
“This is what it is about, bringing good quality rugby out to the country,” he said.
It’s also about exposing more young players to a higher standard of rugby, something Kellaway is a testament to.
He has had a bit of a change in roles this year and will, as he has done in the Eagles’ first two games and for Randwick during the Shute Shield, start at fullback.
“I first played in the centres and moved back there slowly,” he said.
“I’m really excited about having a bit more responsibility and being more involved.”
The Stars are three from three and will carry in a lot of confidence from that, he said.
“I think they’ll be physical up the middle and they’ve got a good kicking game,” he said.
He sees it as key game for the Eagles.
“During the week we’ve spoken about that this is, in a sense, season-defining,” Kellaway said.
“These games are the ones we want to win if we if we want to be pushing for the finals.”
Coleman is reasonably happy with how things have gone so far.
“We’ve been solid without being outstanding,” he said.
After a scratchy first-up win over the Greater Sydney Rams, they then went down to a strong UC Vikings side.
Despite the result, Coleman felt it was a better performance from them.
One of the things that impressed him was their physicality.
“In the contact aspects of the game we were really strong,” he said.
Their general passion and desire has also been strong in both games.
From what they’ve seen of the Stars so far, he is expecting the boot to play a big role.
“The last three games they’ve kicked more than any other team,” Coleman said.
“They’ve got a really good tactical kicking game.”
How they handle that will be one of the keys.
“I think it’s important we be able to field those kicks and make good decisions about when to run and when to kick,” he said.
The quality of their kicks when they do also needs to be good.
The scrum will also be an interesting battle, with Coleman noting the Stars have a strong scrum.
Former Pirate Andrew Collins will be thrown into that at some time, with the Manly prop named on the Eagles bench.