Group 19's junior representative teams have been busy preparing for the inaugural Hunter Cup this Saturday.
The under 13s, 14s and 15s will face off against teams from Group 4, 21, Newcastle and Maitland in a four-game round robin in Denman.
The under 14s and 15s have squads of 25 which will be narrowed down after the Hunter Cup.
The under 13s have finalised their squad for the tournament with Glen Innes player Mitch Duddy captaining the team.
Fellow Magpies Kaleb Hope, Tom Lockyer and Kayne Campbell are also in the team.
Coach Peter Presnell said his young team have been preparing well and hopes they can stick it to the bigger regional centres in their matches.
“They are shaping up pretty good actually,” he said.
“It will be a good test for us this weekend when we go to Denman.
“We have been training really well actually, we have been training Sundays and we have got another training run on Friday night at Muswellbrook before we head out. I think they will go alright.”
Presnell coached the same side last year and said he kept the core together but has added a couple of handy players to the line-up.
“I have lost my big front rower from Bingara because Bingara don't have under 13s or 14s this year so he has decided not to play football but I have replaced him with Austin Schneider from Inverell,” he said.
“Austin was in my side last year but I have pushed him into the front row so I am not going to lose anything there.”
It’s a busy week for Mitch Duddy with the youngster representing NSW Country at the Indoor Cricket National Championships this week.
He will make it back in time for the Hunter Cup.
Presnell had plenty of praise for his young skipper.
“My captain is pretty classy. He is a real good leader,” he said.
H”e keeps them grounded and he is a great little defender, he leads by example. That is why I put him as my captain.”
It will be a tough outing for the Group 19 sides but Presnell is hoping the camaraderie among his group will get them across the line.
“They are just a great bunch of kids,” he said.
“You can see when they get to training they muck around, push and prod each other, it is really good.
“They have gotten to know each other which is good.”
Presnell is hoping their defence can lead the way across the fixtures.
“If we can defend well this weekend over our four games, I think our attack will come pretty easy,” he said.
“I have also got a young kid from Armidale called Logan Dalli, he will be the halfback and I think he will cause some trouble.
“With him and Mitchell combining in the middle I think we can cause a few teams some problems.”
Two weeks after the Hunter Cup, Group 19 will play a trial against Group 2 before the Country Championships in September.
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