Woodbridge Cup chairman Andrew Pull’s not a big believer in miracles but he is a rugby league man – he knows anything can happen in footy.
So when all three of his Cup teams drew Group 10 for their opening games of the Western Rams representative cluster at Bathurst on Saturday, he saw an opportunity more than a chance to write some form of football fairytale.
“I give us every chance,” Pull said.
“But Group 10 is going to be tough, we know that much.
“I think our Woodbridge teams will go pretty well. Our 23s side will defend well and our under 18s are really good too, if we get beat we won’t be embarrassed. There will only be a few points in it either way.
“I think we’ll have an opportunity to win (the under 18s).
“And, our girls’ tag side has plenty of speed there and if they get the opportunity there’s points in them … that’s remembering Group 10 has won every year in the league tag.
“We know it’s tough, but we love being part of it.”
Six players from the Parkes Shire have been called up to play across the three fixtures, three from Trundle and three from Peak Hill.
Trundle Boomer Clayton Hartin and Jyi Cohen from Peak Hill have been named in the 23s side, with Hayden Robinson from Trundle on the bench.
Peak Hill teammates Cameron Charles and Brad Lawler will line-up in the 18s, and Maddie Coster from Trundle will play in league tag.
Eugowra is also well represented with nine players – Warren Baxter and Shaun Bateson have been selected for the 23s, Zeke Hartwig and Jake Shaw in the 18s, and Kimeaka Birmingham, Mikala Mongan, Amelia Davis, Brooke Cusack and Mikayla Dukes in league tag.
Western’s cluster always lends itself to Group 10 versus Group 11 talk, but in the form of Woodbridge Cup and Castlereagh League representative outfits, the region’s second division teams are in the fold as well.
And, Pull says, the maroon and golds relish it.
“Woodbridge loves it. We might have a couple of changes in our 23s but we picked 25 as a train-on squad and all of those players were keen to be part of it,”
“And in the 18s I think everyone in the competition wanted a chance. They can’t get enough of it.”
There’s quality in amongst the eagerness too.
Nathan Whatman was named in Darren Jackson’s Rams under 23s squad last season, the Tigers prop has again been named for Woodbridge Cup ahead of Saturday.
While Whatman’s Canowindra teammate, halfback Jayden Brown oozes class.
“Jayden could play for most Group 10 clubs but has come home to play in Canowindra. They’ll be a chance of winning,” Pull continued.
“And Nathan enjoyed the opportunity last year but he was part of that.
“Big Adam Richards from Condo has played Group 11 before, there’s a few like that that might put their hands up (for Western jumpers).”
- WOODBRIDGE CUP 23s: 1 Mitch Stevens (Grenfell), 2 Jayden Fahey (Manildra), 3 Tyrell Charters (Cargo), 4 Warren Baxter (Eugowra), 5 Clayton Hartin (Trundle), 6 Jyi Cohen (Peak Hill), 7 Jayden Brown (Canowindra), 8 Adam Richards (Condobolin), 9 Hugh Gibson (Manildra), 10 Nathan Whatman (Canowindra), 11 Harrison Gersbach (Manildra), 12 Mitch Gallagher (Manildra), 13 Shaun Bateson (Eugowra); Bench: 14 Brock Campbell (Manildra), 15 Hayden Robinson (Trundle), 16 Tevita Lucas (Cargo), 17 Ethan Richards (Condobolin), 18 Lindsay Thurgate (Canowindra).
- WOODBRIDGE CUP 18s: 1 Brodie Johnston (Manildra), 2 Ryan Kelly (Canowindra), 3 Cameron Charles (Peak Hill), 4 Jordan Packham (Manildra), 5 Maxwell Smith (Condobolin), 6 Zeke Hartwig (Eugowra), 7 Harry Pearce (Manildra), 8 Jack Braithwaite (Manildra), 9 Lachlan Sharp (Manildra), 10 William Mackie (Canowindra), 11 Brad Lawler (Peak Hill), 12 Shannon Menzies (Manildra), 13 Ben Sharpless (Manildra), 14 Lane Edgcumbe (Condobolin), 15 Angus Fisher (Canowindra), 16 Jake Shaw (Eugowra).
- WOODBRIDGE CUP LEAGUE TAG: 1 Heidi Regan (Cargo, c), 2 .Zoe Gavin (Grenfell), 3 Georgia Woodhouse (Manildra), 4 Sami Laing (Cargo), 5 Alynta Mckellar (Condobolin), 6 Kimeaka Birmingham (Eugowra), 7 Mikala Mongan (Eugowra), 8 Breanna Anderson (Grenfell), 9 Amelia Davis (Eugowra), 10 Shae Annis-Brown (Manildra), 11 Taylah Woodhouse (Manildra, c), 12 Maddie Coster (Trundle), 13 Lowanna Coe-Williams (Condobolin), 14 Brooke Cusack (Eugowra), 15 Mikayla Dukes (Eugowra), 16 Caitlin Dixon (Grenfell), 17 Madison Jolliffe (Condobolin), 18 Karla Pearson (Cargo).