Lithgow Storm guns Sam Lane, Lachlan Taylor and Cooper Nunan will represent Group 10 at this weekend’s southern zone Country Championships.
The trio form part of the under 14s squad.
Group 10 Junior president Martin Power is confident both the under 14s and 15s will stick it to the best young representative outfits in NSW.
Group 10 will take on Illawarra in both age groups on Saturday, the winner progressing through to the semi-finals where a place in the southern final is up for grabs.
With both Group 10 units working closely with the Penrith Panthers’ high performance unit in the lead-up to the championships, it’s expected the blue and whites will turn heads at Collegians Wollongong come kick-off against the mighty Illawarra sides.
“Hopefully ... hopefully we can perform,” Power said.
“The under 15s have been hit by injury a bit but we’re confident they’ll still do well.”
Power said there was little doubt Group 10 was an improving force at this level – and that has a lot to do with the four weeks of training the extended squads complete with the Panthers’ staff.
“That sort of training is invaluable for these boys. I think it’s definitely helping,” Power added.
Power believes, aside from Illawarra at home, sides from Group 9 and Group 11 are also strong in these age groups.
The Group 10 sides are made up of players from every side in the junior competition.
The successful southern sides in both age groups will go on to compete in the Country Championship finals against the winners of the northern zone at Cessnock on July 1.
Country Rugby League chief executive officer Terry Quinn believes the championships are a great way to see the future of the game on display.
“The under 14s and 15s Country Championships provide over 800 players with their first taste of representative football and it’s wonderful to see the next generation of rugby league talent from regional New South Wales taking the field together,” Quinn said.
Both Group 10 sides play Illawarra from 1pm on Saturday at Wollongong’s Collegians Sporting Complex in the opening round.