“I know if I was a coach coaching against us, I’d leave no stone unturned. You have to be at your best.”
Western coach Kurt Hancock doesn’t want to make a habit of giving out free advice to his Andrew Johns Cup adversaries, particularly not this weekend’s opponent, the Illawarra South Coast Dragons.
But, such is the Rams form over the opening two rounds of 2018, the former Newcastle Knight may as well share the love.
Western has blazed to two wins from as many starts over the course of the initial rounds of the under 16s country championship.
Last weekend’s 52-0 thrashing of Riverina particularly impressive, for Hancock and the rest of NSW Country.
The experienced junior representative coach says Western’s performances at this level over the course of the last three seasons has landed the Rams region an enviable tag.
“We’ve got the label of being one of the stronger divisions in the pool, but that makes things tougher,” Hancock said after last weekend’s win at Forbes.
“With the program and the way we do things, we’re starting to get a lot of recognition for that and that’s good for the area.”
Western will face its toughest test of the championship on Saturday when the Rams travel to Woolongong to take on the Dragons, an also unbeaten outfit.
“This week will be big, Illawarra is playing good football. They’ll throw a lot at us in attack,” Hancock said.
The Rams coach said Jye Patterson, Jordan Wolhar, Issac Morris and Joshua Turla, the Dragons fullback, five-eighth, half and lock respectively, will challenge his side.
“They match up pretty well against us,” he added.
Western takes on the Dragons from 9.30am at Collegians Sports Complex on Saturday.
WESTERN: 1 Tyler Colley (Bathurst St Pat’s), 2 Aiden Nunn (Blayney Bears), 3 Noah Ryan (Dubbo St Johns), 4 Mason Pollack (Orange Bloomfield), 5 Cooper Monk (Orange CYMS), 6 Rylee Blackhall (Wellington Cowboys), 7 Noah Griffith (Bathurst Panthers), 8 Harry Sullivan (Oberon Tigers), 9 Josh Dominello (Orange CYMS), 10 Charlie Hollman (Bourke Warriors), 11 Blake Martin (Bathurst St Pat’s), 12 Jack Hartwig (c) (Forbes Magpies), 13 Jack Smith (Red Bend Catholic College); Bench: 14 Elijah Colliss (Wellington Cowboys), 15. Marlin Pollack (Orange Bloomfield), 16 Rowan Hamer (Bathurst Panthers), 17 Cody Crisp (Parkes Spaceman), 18 Jayden Fisher (Bathurst St Pat’s).