Fresh start for young team
A FINAL team of 18 has been named to represent the Northern Rivers when it takes on Newcastle in the NSW Country Rugby League Championships in Wauchope this weekend.
Some of the best young players in the region will get the chance to perform at that level for the first time with the championships played in an Under-23 format this season.
Tweed Coast lock Kalani Hensby has been named in the centres and could be one of the standouts after a solid start to the season with the Raiders.
Northern Rivers coach Max Beecher wasted no time adding Jonty Van De Scheur to his squad after receiving news the lock had departed Queensland Cup side Tweed Heads to return to Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League side Murwillumbah.
While Van De Scheur was waiting to be cleared by Country Rugby League, he had received his clearance from Tweed Heads, with Beecher expecting him to take his place in the side.
"He's probably fitter than ever and he's been playing footy at the higher level, so we'd love him in the rep side,” Beecher said.
"We were struggling for front rowers, so once his clearance goes through he should be right to come back and play.”
There is no shortage of talent, with second-rower Anthony Colman and Cudgen front-rower Caleb Ziebell named in the forwards.
Colman was an Under-20s player of the year during his time at the Titans while Sam Harold has played at Australian Schoolboy level.
Marist Brothers duo Kyle Kennedy and Jake Hoban have been named in the run-on team along with halfback Wally Kelly and front-rower Lachie Perren.
"We tried to pick a team of young guys we respect, and from the young guys who nominated, most were guys we had circled,” Beecher said.
"Some have played under-20s in the national youth system. Most have played at a higher level.”