Croke and Gibbon earn rugby call-up
FORMER Far North Coast rugby union players Sam Croke and Alex Gibbon have been selected to play for Australia in the Oceania Sevens Championship in Fiji this weekend.
It will be the first time Croke has played for Australia in the sevens while Gibbon returns to the side he has played with in the past.
Croke last played on the Far North Coast as a teenager in 2012 where he won a first grade premiership with the Lennox Head Trojans.
He went on to represent the Australian Under-20s team and won the first grade best and fairest award at Randwick this year.
Gibbon played plenty of first grade in Sydney but has since moved to Brisbane where he played a couple of games with the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby this past season.
Australian sevens coach Andy Friend is throwing open opportunities for young players to vie for selection in his final 2016-17 squad.
Croke and Gibbon are the only players over the age off 22 in the team with a raft of young players coming through.
It would be a big achievement to make the final squad with sevens part of the Commonwealth Games program on the Gold Coast in 2018.
Kyogle product Shannon Walker was a regular in the sevens team for a few years but left Australian Rugby Union before the Olympic Games in Rio this year.
"We are in a unique period for the Australian Men's Sevens team having been through a changing of the guard after Rio,” Friend said.
"For a coach it's an exciting period as we move to create the building blocks for a strong team for the future.
"We have seen players really stand up and be counted at training but now is the time for that to translate to the field and we are looking forward to what the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship has to throw at us.”