Saint swiftly getting the hang of top flight rugby

POWERHOUSE: Mudgee Wombats inside centre Alex Saints has made a home in the backline since moving from the forwards.
POWERHOUSE: Mudgee Wombats inside centre Alex Saints has made a home in the backline since moving from the forwards.

It hasn’t taken long for Mudgee Wombats prodigy Alex Saint to find his feet during the inaugural New Holland Agriculture Cup season.

Saint started the season as a 17-year-old after jumping up from the juniors to play with the big boys in 2018.

Not only has he not missed a beat in his transition to first grade, he’s emerged as one of the Batties’ most threatening players – even after a switch from the forwards to the backs.

After representing Central West Colts during their April campaign, Saint reflected on some of the adjustments he’s had to make throughout his first season with the seniors.

“It’s a different kind of rugby compared to juniors. It’s a lot harder and faster. You move the ball quicker and there’s more structure – that kind of surprised me,” Saint said.

“It’s good, though.. I’m enjoying it. It’s good, hard rugby and it’s been good playing with the older boys and learning heaps.”

Saint made a home in the forwards throughout his junior career but after being moved to inside centre at Central West Colts earlier in the year, he started playing there for the Wombats too.

“I prefer the backs but it’s kind of similar,” Saint said.

“When I moved into the backs it was a completely different defensive structure. I had to work on not wanting to move into the ruck and like being able to make one-on-one tackles and always have my eyes up.

“I’ve had to get the mentality that I’m playing in the backs now and I’ve got to always think about the next thing that’s going to happen and not overcommit myself.

“It’s kind of been just getting used to the positioning in the backs and especially working on one-on-one tackles because you haven’t got as many people around you as when you’re in the forwards so you’ve got to make sure you make your tackles.”

While Saints loves the Wombats, he’d like to follow in the footsteps of players like Billy Carberry who was scouted to the nation’s capital at the start of 2018.

“I’d like to pursue rugby as a career and maybe move somewhere like Canberra or even Sydney for the Chute Shield possibly,” Saint said.

“I just came back from playing the NSW schoolboys comp and we really got shown off to the Chute Shield selectors and Waratahs selectors and other clubs throughout Australia.”

“Hopefully we can get some recognition from that.”

Saint’s first grade side is set to play a tough away match at Parkes on Saturday as it looks to snag a spot in the top two while the men in second grade will try to notch their ninth win in what’s been a remarkable season so far.

FIRST GRADE LADDER: Narromine 58, Parkes 37, Mudgee 29, Blayney, 27, CSU 26, Dubbo 20.

SECOND GRADE LADDER: Narromine 56, Blayney 45, Mudgee 43, Dubbo 15, Parkes 14, CSU 14.