New boys on Northern Rivers side for Country Rugby League
ELEVEN new players have been included in the Northern Rivers team to play Riverina in the second tier of the NSW Country Rugby League Championships at Bathurst on Saturday.
Murwillumbah has the most players in the side with Dean Murphy, Shane Kight, Aaron Booth and Jonty Van De Scheur joining Sam O'Dea and Caleb Howell, who both played last year.
O'Dea will captain the side along with five-eighth Chris King, who missed last year with injury.
Marist Brothers lock Jack Durheim is new to the team along with Rams teenager Sam Elliott.
Winger Mitchell Krause is a late inclusion for the injured Clarence Kelly with Cudgen players Josh Sleba and Shannon Green coming on board.
Northern United is well represented with Brett Kelly, Alwyn Roberts, Bill King and Chris King.
Front-rower Tim James is the only Casino representative while no players from Byron Bay, Evans Head, Kyogle, Mullumbimby or Lower Clarence are in the team this year.
"We lost a lot from last year but we're fortunate with the quality players that have come on board," coach Scott Sattler said.
"I always knew that was going to happen and we were prepared for it.
"There were some guys who were already in the system and others who were right on the cusp of selection for a few years.
"We have some good club connections in the team and others have played together at schoolboy level growing up."
Riverina will have some players with National Rugby League experience including Michael Henderson, David Milne and Arana Taumata.
Sattler, who played NRL and won a premiership with Penrith, is confident in his team.
"We just have to focus on our own goals that we set," he said.
"We have a side that can score plenty of points."
A win would set up a game against North Coast the following weekend.
Former Northern Rivers players Roy Bell and Todd Johnson are in the North Coast team.
The final will be played at Mudgee on June 20.
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NORTHERN RIVERS TEAM
Fullback, Brett Kelly; wingers, Mitchell Krause, Bill King; centres, Caleb Howell, Michael Thomas; five-eighth, Chris King; halfback, Paul O'Neill; props, Tim James, Dean Murphy; hooker, Sam O'Dea; second-rowers, Jonty Van De Scheur, Josh Sleba; lock, Jack Durheim. Bench: Shannon Green, Shane Kight, Alwyn Roberts, Sam Elliott, Aaron Booth (18th man).