Tim Ryan will get his first glimpse at the players at his disposal for this year’s under 23s country championship tilt when Western tackles St Mary’s at Carrington Park on Saturday.
The first trial match for the senior Rams side will kick-off at 6pm at Bathurst, with a stack of new faces in the frame for selection ahead of the new-look championship.
Of the players in last year’s mix, Lachie Munro (Orange CYMS), Jed Betts (Bathurst Panthers), Sam Simmons (Nyngan) and Ethan McKellar (Orange Hawks) will again trial at Bathurst, as will Joe Duffy. The Orange CYMS prop was part of last year’s Rams squad, but broke his jaw playing club footy in the lead-up to the representative season.
This year’s campaign, though, is in the pre-season and unlike 2018’s knockout format – where the Rams were bundled out in round one against a strong Illawarra – Western will play at least two games this championship.
Western’s first competition game is against Monaro at Parkes on Sunday, March 10. They then play Greater Southern Region Wests Tigers at Bathurst the following weekend.
The women’s tackle country championship lines up with the under 23s games, so Western will play Monaro and the Tigers on those dates as well.
Group 11 premiership winners Mitch Burke, Hayden Bolam and Ben Maguire will be joined by new Forbes teammate Bailey Hartwig in Bathurst for the trial, while Betts and young fullback Josh Rivett are Panthers’ premiership players stepping up into the rep fold in 2019.
Rakai Tuheke (Orange Hawks), Thomas Reddish (Gulgong), Wade Kavanagh (Dubbo CYMS), Zac Browne (Cowra), Cody Godden (Lithgow Workies), Travis Adelehorf (Orange CYMS), Tui Oloapu (Lithgow Workies), Joey Dwyer (Parkes), Jay Slavin (Parkes), Michael Latu (Bathurst St Pat's), Jack Mackey (Bathurst St Pat's), McCoy White (Bathurst St Pat's), John Ciaparra (Dubbo Macquarie) and Jack Beasley (Mudgee) are the other players trialing that have been part of Ryan’s summer training camp.
St Mary’s outfit will also include a couple of Rams young guns, with 2018 Daley Cup stars Aaron Mawhinney and Brock Naden named to play against Western on Saturday.
The match will be the final fixture on Saturday, with the WWRL round one Orange Vipers and Panorama Platypi games on at Carrington Park in the lead-up.
Western kicks off at 6pm, the opening under 15s WWRL starts at 3pm.
The 23s are due to kick off at 6pm, with Western Women's Rugby League games from 3pm.