Picture becoming clearer

The Central West colts squad is coming together but coach Dean Matthews expects to get his best idea of who to take to the Country Championships following this weekend’s trial clash with Manly.

TALENT POOL: The two Bathurst clubs, which met in last seaon’s Blowes Clothing Cup colts grand final, look set to provide a large number of Central West players in 2017. Photo: MATT FINDLAY

Matthews is one of four coaches, the others being Mark Stanford, Rob Bond and Jason Coyle, in charge of the colts this season and it was Stanford who helped organise the trial with Manly, having made contacts during his time coaching in Sydney.

A colts trial against Sydney opposition has not been seen in recent history and Matthews is certain he’ll gain a lot from Saturday’s pre-season hit-outat Cumnock.

“We probably just want to see the combinations,” he said.

“How the nine and 10 work, and the 12 and 13, how the forwards work together for a unit and how the set pieces are.

“Fitness shouldn’t be a thing, hopefully the boys have all been doing their own thing but the Sydney boys have been training together for a couple months and we’ve only been together three or four weeks so expecting them to turn up to play.”

Matthews has been impressed with what he’s seen in the limited sessions he’s had with his squad.

Gathering players from the central west and from West Wyalong right through to Coonabarabran hasn’t been easy but a foundation has been placed for the side to work from.

“They’re a good bunch and there’s some very talented footballers,” he said, before joking about their priorities.

“It would be better if not as many were doing year 12 and could commit more but there’s some really handy footballers in the central west 20s competition.”

Matthew stated he and his fellow coaches have an idea of the squad they will take to the Championship, with a number of players already impressing.

Dubbo pair Isiah Ackroyd and Felix Quinn have been the two standouts, according to Matthews, while Forbes brothers Simon and Josh Bailey have caught the eye, as has newcomer C.J Anastasia, who made the move from Warringah to Wellington during the off-season.

Fellow prop James McFarland was another singled out by the coach, who was keen to say there is “quite a few to pick from”.

Saturday will also give both squads the chance to bond, with Manly making a trip of it by having the city boys set camp and stay at a shearers’ quarters just outside Molong while both sides will gather for a barbecue after the game.

“It’s good for our blokes to see how they are,” Matthews said.“Manly are a semi-professional club and they’re excited too.”


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