Pioneers spread wings
By STEVE SPINKS
THE all-conquering Wollongbar Under-19 rugby union side is set to receive a major overhaul this season.
The team that won the 2004 Far North Coast Under-19 title, were runners-up in 2003 and won the 2002 competition have lost a host of talented players.
As reported by The Northern Star, hooker Bill Johnston has joined the Gold Coast Breakers and the Queensland Reds Academy, while fullback Ben Johnston has joined the ACT Brumbies Under-19s.
But there are further losses.
Feisty halfback Brad Marsh, who played a number of first grade games last season, and front-rower Aaron Burnett have also moved on.
They are joining Sydney club Warringah.
"Aaron has been with the North Coast Academy of Sport for two years," Aaron's father Terry Burnett said.
"Warringah sponsor the Academy and Aaron has been busting to get down there.
"Brad's going with him and both of them have been given jobs."
Both will play in one of four Warringah Colts (Under-20) teams.
There will be one familiar face in Sydney, as former Wollongbar halfback Rohan Ozols plays for the Rats.
NSW Country Under-17 representative centre Asher Rodwell is another to try his luck in the city.
He has linked with West Harbour in the Sydney competition.
Rodwell played Under-19s and first grade last season.
A further two players are off to the Gold Coast Breakers Colts.
Second-rower Tim Perkins and five-eighth Lachlan Vigna will be joining the Brisbane premiership club.
Coach Allen Eggins, who is yet to decide if he will coach the team again this season, is in awe of the young footballers who are leaving town.
"They were an incredible team," he said.
"That's why they were so easy to coach."