Family all geared up for knockout carnival
IF ALISTER Bolt is the fastest in the family and his cousin Tyson Binge is the strongest, what does that make their uncle and Northern United rugby league team-mate Justin Bolt?
“The smartest,” Justin answered with a big grin.
Then he added: “I'm the brains of the outfit,” and his 17-year-old nephews roared with laughter.
But jokes aside, the boys are full of respect for Justin who, at 34, will be one of the more experienced players in the United outfit preparing to take on the sport's best Indigenous talent in the Aboriginal knockout carnival at Cudgen this weekend.
Alister, who plays with the Penrith Under-20 team, had agreed to link up with Newcastle in the knockout before Justin contacted him.
“I came up here instead to play with my uncle,” Alister said.
The team positions haven't been announced yet, but Alister's speed and ball handling skills will likely see him at fullback.
Tyson, who played his first season of rugby league this year with Ballina, will have the daunting task of packing into the front row.
But according to Alister, he'll hold his own against his older opposition.
“He'll go good, he's not scared of taking it forward,” Alister said.
And while Justin is a probable five-eighth, just being on the same field with his nephews will be something special.
“It's an honour to play with my two nephews and a real honour to be part of Northern United,” he said.
The team list reads almost like a who's who of local rugby league with Evan Hickling, Clarence Kelly, Buddy King, Alwyn Roberts, Ray Mercy and Grant Brown.
Coach Chris Binge said the combination of the Retravision Northern League senior players with the young guns of Alister and Tyson, Chris Binge junior, Tyrone Roberts and Jeremy Roberts gave the team an extra element to last year's team, which exited the knockout two games short of the final.
“Now we have the youth and the experience,” Binge said.
“This year we have the best balance in the team we've ever had going into a knockout.
“Every win we have is a bonus. If we can keep this side together for four years, that's the ultimate goal.
“If we win a few games along the way that's a bonus - we're building for the years ahead.”
The team has been training three nights a week for the past month in preparation.
“In terms of Aboriginal rugby league, it's a huge deal,” Binge said.