Powering to finals

Three Red Bend representatives Jack Hartwig, Jack Smith and Tom Phillips playing for Western Rams 16s in last weekend's semi-finals.
Three Red Bend representatives Jack Hartwig, Jack Smith and Tom Phillips playing for Western Rams 16s in last weekend's semi-finals.

The Western Rams 16s, captained by Forbes’ Jack Hartwig, power into this weekend’s finals of the Andrew Johns Cup undefeated. 

The Rams, featuring Red Bend Catholic College representatives Jack Smith and Tom Phillips, meet Illawarra South Coast in the finals at Mudgee’s Glen Willow regional sports complex on Saturday after a stellar campaign. 

Western overcame a nervous start in last weekend’s semi-finals to finish with a dominant 40-16 victory over Northern Rivers, after the visitors scored from their opening set of the match.

The side has amazingly conceded only 52 points in their six matches leading into the final.

Coach – experienced mentor Kurt Hancock – says you’ve just got to see these young Rams in action.

The experienced Western mentor hails from Newcastle and has been in contact with the Rebels coaching staff throughout the championship. Newcastle gathers for training as a group two or three times a week.

Western usually has just the one session in the lead-up to game day – the fact the team draws from Bathurst to Bourke has a little bit to do with that.

They had just one, one-and-a-half hour, session between their final round and their semi-final victory.

“If you got these fellas and did three days a week with them it’d be dead-set scary,” Hancock said.

“We get together for an hour a week. It commends the quality of player we have here. To come up with performances like that ... people have got to get out here and see these kids.”

The final of the Andrew Johns Cup kicks off at midday at Mudgee on Saturday. 

WESTERN: 1 Tyler Colley (Bathurst St Pat’s), 2. Aiden Nunn (Blayney), 3. Noah Ryan (Dubbo St Johns), 4. Mason Pollack (Orange Bloomfield), 5. Cooper Monk (Orange CYMS), 6. Rylee Blackhall (Wellington), 7. Noah Griffith (Bathurst Panthers), 8. Harry Sullivan (Oberon), 9. Josh Dominello (Orange CYMS), 10. Marlin Pollack (Orange Bloomfield), 11. Blake Martin (Bathurst St Pat’s), 12.Jack Hartwig (C) (Red Bend), 13.Jack Smith (Red Bend), 14. Elijah Colliss (Wellington), 15. Charlie Holman (Bourke), 16. Thomas Phillips (Red Bend), 17. Cody Crisp (Parkes), 18.Jayden Fisher (Bathurst St Pat’s)