Collins no Cockatoo
By STEVE SPINKS
CASINO'S Shane Collins has been one of the Far North Coast's most consistent rugby union representatives.
Unfortunately, it hasn't been in his home State of New South Wales.
Collins has been the Queensland Country fullback for the past three seasons.
The Cairns-based custodian was a member of the Blue Heelers team that drew 28-all with NSW Country at Narrabri last Saturday in an Australian Rugby Shield match.
Collins scored a try in the draw and played strongly at the back.
The 23-year-old left Casino in 1999 to travel before planning to start a nursing degree at Southern Cross University.
After a short stint in Cairns, he found that he loved the place, so he stayed on.
Collins is in the final year of a plastering apprenticeship and he has played in five premiership-winning Cairns Brothers first-grade teams.
He is the son of Casino club member Lex Collins.
The team Collins played against last Saturday, NSW Country, will continue their Australian Rugby Shield campaign tomorrow with a top-of-the-table clash with Perth Gold at Oakes Oval, Lismore.
It will be the first time Far North Coast hasn't had a representative in the Cockatoos line-up for four years.
Last year another Casino boy, prop Ross Larsson, was captain of the team that eventually won the Shield.
The year before Ballina outside centre Jamie Coote played a couple of games for NSW Country.
In 2001 and 2002, Ballina fullback Kane Scott was a member of the Cockatoos.
Lismore City No8 Ray Taylor was initially selected in the NSW Country squad this year, but he made himself unavailable due to work and family commitments.
Meanwhile, there has been speculation that this year's ARS could be the last.
Perth Gold has yet to announce its intention of fielding a side next season now WA has been awarded a Super 14 franchise.
NSW Country may also fail to produce a team next year as its leading provincial zones ? Illawarra, Central Coast, Newcastle and Central West ? have all been invited to participate in the Sydney club rugby Shute Shield competition.
The loss of these teams would be the death knell of the competition as they have been the most successful outfits during the short ARS history.