Western Rams blow out the cobwebs in Blayney

The Western Rams' bid to go one better at the New South Wales Rugby League country championships began in earnest on Saturday during two trial games at Blayney.

The under 16s had the better of their trial game against Penrith, with Rams coach Tony Woolnough's counting nine tries to two in favour of the home side.

The Rams finished as runners-up in both the Andrew John Cup and Laurie Daley Cup last season and the coaches of those respective sides, Woolnough and 18s mentor Kurt Hancock, have returned to go one better in 2020.

Official scores weren't kept during Saturday's fixtures and while the performances were far from perfect, Woolnough said there was plenty to come out of the game for his 16s side.

"We were very rusty, it's very, very early but we're just looking to put the basics in progress," he said.

"Penrith are always strong and always come out with some big boys but I was just looking for some of our boys to be playing hard, playing tough and to put their hand up."

His side has only had the one training session together for the season, with most of the boys all coming together in the past week at Manildra.

It's very, very early but we're just looking to put the basics in progress

Tony Woolnough

Despite Penrith coming to Blayney "under-strength", he said it was a stellar hit-out for "our first run on the park".

Woolnough wouldn't pick any standouts from the encounter, saying everyone on the park performed their role, with another game to come against Northern Tigers in coming weeks.

"Everyone in the squad will travel for that, then after that we'll cut it down and go into a camp at Burrendong," he said.

"We've just got to keep doing what we're doing, that two day camp we'll nail down what we want to be doing and how we're going to do it.

"Last year it was very important taking the squad there and getting the final 17 or 18 down pat."

The Rams featured a combined 17s/18s squad for the second game, giving a number of younger players the chance to develop and learn what it's all about under Hancock.

That meant there was heavy rotation in the match against the Panthers, with nearly three squads' worth of players lining up for the trial game.

"It was hard to gauge how it was all going considering they had so many players coming on and off," Woolnough said.

"I don't envy the job Kurt Hancock has trying to pick a team out of that."

The John and Daley Cup competitions begin in mid-February, with the Western Rams to play three homes games during the country championships.

Those fixtures will be played out Forbes, Mudgee, and Bathurst.