Lovett, Mawhinney and Nielsen represent Western Rams in Johns and Daley cups

DEBUT: This year marks the first time Benjamin Lovett (17) and 16-year-olds Kyle Mawhinney and Finnley Neilsen have pulled on the Rams jersey. Photo: Christine Little
DEBUT: This year marks the first time Benjamin Lovett (17) and 16-year-olds Kyle Mawhinney and Finnley Neilsen have pulled on the Rams jersey. Photo: Christine Little

It's been three for three for both the Johns Cup and Daley Cup Western Rams teams and Parkes' representative trio couldn't be happier.

Both Western teams in the under 16s (Johns Cup) and 18s (Daley Cup) Country Rugby League (CRL) competition are on top of the ladder after winning all three rounds so far.

And if the Rams keep their form, wins at Parkes this weekend will just about sew-up top spot in the southern pool for both junior teams.

Parkes will host all four Western Rams sides (Johns and Daley cups, 23s and women) from 10am at Pioneer Oval on Sunday.

This year marks the first time all three reps from Parkes - 17-year-old Benjamin Lovett and 16-year-olds Kyle Mawhinney and Finnley Neilsen - have pulled on the Rams jersey.

It's something all three have been wanting to do for a long time and they've already warranted their selection with some strong displays.

The 18s defeated Penrith 34-18 in round one, before the side beat Riverina 44-10 and Illawarra 32-20 in the weeks that followed.

Lovett has been playing well down the Rams' right side - a position he doesn't usually play - and scored a couple of great tries in the round one win over Penrith.

He's been showing great strength and determination close to the line.

"My first game was the best, it was my first time wearing the Rams jersey and I scored two tries," the Year 12 Red Bend Catholic College student said.

"What surprised me was that I usually play second row or lock so all three games I've been playing centre.

"I was a bit scared at first because you've got to de-up (defend) with the faster blokes," he laughed.

Lovett said his tries came as a bit of a surprise.

"I'm not usually a big try-scorer so crossing for two tries was awesome," he said.

"It gave me a bit more confidence that I can do it."

His ultimate goal is to make the Country team in the 18s who will tour England in November.

Lovett plays with the U18s Spacemen and has been involved in rugby league since he was seven.

The 16s encountered a close round 1 victory with Penrith, 14-12, and defeated Riverina 26-16 and Illawarra 30-8 in the next two rounds.

Mawhinney crossed for his first try with the Rams in round 2.

He plays five-eighth and has been dangerous down Western's left edge.

Mawhinney - who also attends Red Bend College, as does Neilsen - said round 2 has been his highlight so far.

"Everyone played their best footy in the second game, our structure was really good until the end where we kind of fell apart," he said.

"It's been a step-up in the quality of footy.

"My goal was to make the side, and since then it's been keeping my spot and I suppose winning the competition.

"We're improving every game but we have a lot to improve on."

Mawhinney has been playing rugby league since he was five years old.

Neilsen is the under 16s skipper and has been getting through a mountain of work through the middle for the Rams.

He is really enjoying the experience and his time in the forwards.

"Our first game against Penrith has been our best, Penrith is probably one of our hardest opponents so far," Neilsen said.

"We all gelled together and we all wanted to win."

Neilsen's goal, a personal one, is also to make the Country side.

"It's always been a goal, my dad (Mark Neilsen) played for Country," he said.

"It would mean the world."

Mark, who works in Indonesia, has been watching his son play through the CRL's live streams on Facebook.

Western plays Monaro on Sunday, with the Colts drawing from around the Canberra region:

  • 10am – Western Rams v Monaro Colts (Johns Cup)
  • 11.20am – Western Rams v Monaro Colts (Daley Cup)
  • 12.50pm – Western Rams v Monaro Colts (Women’s)
  • 2pm – Western Rams v Monaro Colts (U23’s)