Damen duo key for Pioneers
WOLLONGBAR-Alstonville’s Damen brothers, Josh and Ben, will team up for a rare partnership this season in the Pioneers’ clash with SCU Gold Rats in FNC Rugby Union today.
Coach Barry Carpenter confirmed Josh’s return to first grade.
“Both of them have played in the zone team, and Ben played in England for Sidmouth last year while Josh has been back and forward from Brisbane this year,” he said.
While Ben and Josh have proven their talent as they rose through the junior ranks of the Pioneers to first grade, Carpenter said younger brother Daniel was also showing promise.
“There is another younger brother coming through, so we might see three Damens running around for first grade soon,” he said.
This weekend also marks the last game of the season for Michael Wilson, who will head back to England to play for Withycombe.
“We’ve got ties with some of the clubs in England, so we’ve got players coming and going,” Carpenter said.
“Usually they go off over there when they’re young, so they improve anyway, but after their overseas trip they tend to grow up a bit.”
Up-and-coming talent Shaun Ellis will also make his way onto the paddock for first-grade, despite having already spent a few games on the bench for the team.
“He’s a player we’ve nurtured in under-19s, and this is his first start in first grade,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter said the team was looking to consolidate their form this week against the Gold Rats.
“We’re looking for a good, solid hit-out, and SCU usually does that,” he said.
“I think we’ll go in with a good chance but we’re not taking uni lightly because they’re always a surprise package.”