Northern Country Rugby League

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Local boys Bryce Roche, Shaun Hinton and Connor Cheeseman’s selection in the Under 16s Northern Country Rugby League side is quite an achievement by anyone’s standards. Chrissy Jones caught up with Group 3 Representative Coach Brad Hinton to get the run down.

Tell us about the boys’ selection in the Northern Country Rugby League Side. How did this come about?

Wauchope’s Bryce Roche and Shaun Hinton, along with Port City Breakers’ Connor Cheeseman, are the three young guns who gained selection. The boys represented the Group 3 under 16s side at the Northern Country Championships at Forster on the weekend of

2 and 3  June this year, where they caught the eye of selectors.

There were 10 Group Teams represented at the Championships, from the Central Coast to Tweed Heads in the north and out to Moree in the west. The Group 3 side won 3 games to make the final of the Country Championship Cup, narrowly going down to Group 2, 16 points to 12, in a game played under very wet conditions.

How many players were up for selection?

Bryce, Shaun and Connor were selected for the Northern Country team out of the 200 players participating over the weekend. Bryce was selected as Hooker, and Shaun and Connor in the Second Row.

Have they represented the Group at all in the past?

Shaun and Connor have been regular fixtures in the Group Team, having represented in the Under 13s, 14s and 15s previously. For Bryce, this was his second year at representative level, having played with the Group under 15s team last year.

They have had a busy year. Tell us what the three of them have been up to?

They play regularly for the Wauchope and Port City Breakers local clubs in the under 16s side and at times back up for the senior Under 18s teams during the season. They all gained selection in the Group 3 team after participating in the Newcastle Knights Group 3 Development Academy during February and March and also by playing strongly in the Group trials, which were held during May.

All three boys have also come to the notice of NRL clubs, with Bryce and Shaun spending four weeks during January this year training and playing with the Manly Harold Mathews Summer Development Squad, and Connor doing likewise with the Bulldogs.

The experience the boys gained from this exposure has certainly paid dividends in their development and confidence.

Where to now for the boys?

They will now play the Southern Country Side at Wyong, which is a selection trial to gain a place in the NSW Country Team. If they gain selection in the NSW Country Team, they will go into camp during the first week of the July school holidays and play Qld Country at Toowoomba on 7 July.

Thanks Brad, we wish the boys all the best in their future sporting endeavours.

This story was published in issue 80 Greater Port Macquarie Focus

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