NSW Country Rugby Union

Cockatoo Colts Thrive in Gen-Blue Trial

NSW Country Rugby Colts faced an unusual challenge this last weekend in Camden pitted against two Sydney based selection squads. All players involved were trailing for selection in the next edition of the NSW GenBlue program.

Playing Sydney East in the first hit out, the pace of the game was electric as the highly credentialed opposition played at great speed and with good structure to really test the Country Colts. Typical of NSW Country sides, we relished the challenge and our aggressive first up and scramble defence was outstanding.

In attack, we lacked depth to instigate the game plan effectively but still stuck to the task and our attacking shape to provide good continuity of attack. This paid dividends with field position and eventually our constant pressure was rewarded with a kickable penalty.

Stung by our resolve, Sydney swung into action and immediately replied with a try out wide.
A very tough uncompromising arm wrestle ensued but was broken when a beautifully worked wide passing movement resulted in a try to Country after 6 strong phases.

Sydney were not allowed back into the game and Country maintained the lead until cruelly for the Country Colts, Sydney snatched victory in the last minute of play with a final try to win 10 points to 8 in an absorbing and entertaining contest that the Country team can be very proud of.

Kicking off the next contest only 50 minutes later, a quick review to improve performance was carried out and the Country team took to the field confident from their previous performance. Immediately we started play with more effective attacking depth.

This resulted in more time and space for our wide players and we immediately launched effective attacking raids.

In Defence, the opposition were significantly bigger than us, but dogged, aggressive and technically correct defence nullified the size difference and Sydney West appeared to have no plan B if their big men could not break our line.

Our ball movement was now more effective and our attacking shape led to continuity of quality attack that the opposition defence could not handle.

Over the 35 minutes we scored 4 scintillating tries to win the game comfortably. This was the result of both individual brilliance and the capacity of the team to institute the game plan they had been given less than 24 hours earlier. This was a really significant achievement and is a credit to the playing group.

Quite rightly the Coaching, Management and playing members of the squad are very proud of the standards that were set and achieved in this first outing in Camden.
Thank you to the great support provided by The NSW Country Rugby Executive, the Coaching, Management and players of the Country Cockatoos and to the players and supporters of the Colts players.

We are relishing our second challenge in Newcastle and look forward to pulling on the Country jersey again.

Cockatoo Colts Training Squad 2016

• Angus Ashbrook          Illawarra                    Tech Waratahs
• Tim Beare                    New England             Robb College
• Liam Bowden               Hunter                     Singleton
• Sam Callough                New England            Robb College
• Ben Carmichael            New England            St Alberts College
• Toby Carver                  Central Coast           Ourimbah
• Ryan Connolly               Hunter                     Newcastle Wanderers
• Angus Currans              Western Plains          Nyngan
• Tom Fisher                   New England             St Alberts College
• Will Fonua                    Newcastle Hunter     Hamilton
• Dylan Galvin                 Central Coast            Ourimbah
• Jono Green                   New England           St Alberts College
• Alex Hill                        Newcastle Hunter    Merewether Carlton
• Sam Kelly                      Central Coast           Ourimbah
• Sam Kerry                      Far North Coast       Wollongbar Alstonville
• Dan Matthew                Central Coast          Gosford
• Rob Peden                     Central Coast         Ourimbah
• Luke Rees                      Hunter                   Maitland
• Kade Robinson              Hunter                    Merewether Carlton
• Vincent Robinson          Illawarra                 Woonona Shamrocks
• Elijah Sa                         Illawarra                 Campbelltown
• Vaughan Sandral             Far North Coast      Wollongbar Alstonville
• Corban Selwyn               Central West          Mudgee
• Keegan Size                    New England         St Alberts College
• Lachlan Tonks                 Hunter                  Merewether Carlton
• Reuben Thompson          Illawarra               Wollongong University
• Will Turner                       New England        St Alberts College
• Lapana Vitale                 Central Coast          Woy Woy
• Harry Wardell                  New England         St Alberts College
• Alex Webster                 Central West          Cowra

Colts Bound for Adelaide

NSW Country Cockatoos Colts are bound for Adelaide this week to participate in the 2016 Southern States U20 Championships.

The championships kick off on Friday, 19 February with the newly structured format seeing the Cockatoos Colts playing South Australia and arch rivals Queensland Country.

Australian U20 Coaching Staff will be in attendance at the championships, and besides scouting for talent will conduct testing, training and education sessions for each of the teams.

These championships are the first step in the process for players from the second tier Unions to press their claims for selection in the Australian Barbarians U20 Team, with the ultimate goal being selection in the Australian U20 Team.

The squad of twenty three players have had to go through a long and exhaustive process to earn their spot in the squad for Adelaide.

The process kicked off last October with Discovery Days, which were followed by a November Training Camp, fitness testing over the Xmas period and a final Selection Camp at the beginning of February.

Cockatoos Colts Coach Mat Thomas said “whilst the squad didn’t have the forward bulk of previous teams, this was offset by overall fitness and mobility around the playing field”.

He went on to say “the involvement of the Waratahs U20 Coaches and the Waratahs Strength & Conditioning Staff in the program had ensured the squad had the best possible preparation, both in fitness and skill level”.

“The age old problem of distance in Country Rugby continues to be an issue with team preparations, but advances in communication and technology systems was greatly assisting with the implementation and monitoring of fitness programs” added Thomas.

The Cockatoo Colts wrapped up their preparation with a two day training and selection camp in early February which incorporated matches against the Waratahs U20’s and Waratahs Colts. These matches saw the Colts perform very competitively against teams which comprised of players in high performance programs.

The Cockatoo Colts will face off against South Australia on Saturday, 20 February and back up against Queensland Country on Sunday, 21 February with each of the Southern States Championship matches being played at Thebarton Oval.

Cockatoos Colts Squad
• Tim Beare - Robb College
• Daniel Boardman -  Lennox Heads
• Phil Bradford -  Newcastle Wanderers
• Ben Carmichael -  St Alberts College
• Sinclair Clinton - St Alberts College
• William Frost - Newcastle University
• Jonathan Green-  St Alberts College
• Wade Hannell - Woy Woy
• Riley Hopwood -  Armidale
• Nathan Illy - Wollongong University
• Josh Institoris -  Camden
• Ryan Kenny-Wilson - Port Macquarie
• Zac McGuinness -  Merewether Carlton
• Adam Plummer -  Bathurst
• Luke Rees -  Singleton
• Vince Robinson - Woonona Shamrocks
• Sam Rouse -  Merewether Carlton
• Tom Sawden -  Wollongong Vikings
• Rhys Sheriff - Woy Woy
• Max Stewart - Avoca Beach
• Reuben Thompson - Wollongong University
• Will Turner - St Alberts College
• Luke Wiseman - Avoca Beach

• Mat Thomas - Coach
• Dean Oxley- Assistant Coach
• Scott McKellar -  Manager
• David Hawthorne - Assistant Manager
• David Cannon- Doctor
• Casey Williams -  Physio

Go to www.nswcountryrugby.com.au for all NSW Country Rugby Union news.

Colts Training Squad Announced

The NSW Country Rugby Union Cockatoo Colts Training Squad for the 2016 Southern States Championships has been announced, and will now start the process of building for the event.

A training squad of thirty three players has been selected following on from the Coffs Harbour and Singleton Discovery Days, which saw over sixty players from around state stake their claims for selection.

A training camp will be held in Sydney during the early weeks in November, where the players will undergo fitness assessments which will be overseen by the NSW Waratahs Strength & Conditioning Coaches.

The results of the fitness assessments will determine the training programs each of the players will be set over the xmas/new year period, which will incorporate periodical testing at various centres around the state.

Cockatoo Colts Head Coach Mat Thomas said “each of the players selected in the training squad had been identified during the year, and had earnt their spots on the back of their season form and their performances at the Discovery Days”.

He went on to say “the involvement by the Waratahs Coaching Staff will add a new level in terms of the preparation the team will receive leading into the championships”.

“Last year three Country players gained selection in the Australian Barbarian U20’s Team, and the aim this year is to increase on that number, so the team preparation leading into the championships is very important” he added.

The training camp will incorporate an internal trail match, and together with the form displayed in this match and the results of the S & C program over the summer months, the final twenty five players for the championships will be selected at the end of January.

• Tim Beare                  Robb College            New England
• Daniel Boardman       Lennox Head            Far North Coast
• Phil Bradford             Wanderers                Newcastle Hunter
• Jake Brumley            Bangalow                  Far North Coast
• Ben Carmichael         St Alberts College     New England
• Sinclair Clinton         St Alberts College     New England
• Sam Evans                Avoca Beach             Central Coast
• Will Frost                  Newcastle Uni          Newcastle Hunter
• Jone Green              St Alberts College     New England
• Wade Hannell            Woy Woy                  Central Coast
• Lachlan Hennessy     Bowral                      Illawarra
• Chase Hicks              The Waratahs           Newcastle Hunter
• Riley Hopwood         Armidale                   New England
• Max Hoysted           Bowraville                Far North Coast
• Nathan Illy                Wollongong Uni         Illawarra
• Josh Institoris          Camden                    Illawarra
• Ryan Kenny-Wilson   Port Macquarie         Mid North Coast
• Lachlan King             Woonona Shamrocks  Illawarra
• Hamish Lorang          Wanderers                 Newcastle Hunter
• Robert Peden           Ourimbah                   Central Coast
• Adam Plumber          Bathurst                    Central West
• Alec Pohla                Gosford                      Central Coast
• Vincent Robinson     Woonona Shamrocks  Illawarra
• Sam Rouse                Merewether/Carlto    Newcastle Hunter
• Elijah Sa                   Campbelltown            Illawarra
• Rhys Sheriff             Woy Woy                     Central Coast
• Ryan Sorrell             Woonona Shamrocks    Illawarra
• Max Stewart            Avoca Beach                Central Coast
• Noa Taufaao             The Waratahs               Newcastle Hunter
• Gareth Thomas        Woonona Shamrocks    Illawarra
• Reuben Thompson   Wollongong Uni            Illawarra
• Will Turner               St Alberts College        New England
• Luke Wiseman         Avoca Beach                Central Coast

Walsh Named Colts Player of the Year

Blake Walsh has been named as the 2015 NRMA NSW Country Rugby Union Colts Player of the Year.

The award has capped off a very successful season for Walsh, which has seen him rack up many achievements and has earmarked him as a long term NSW Country Rugby Union senior player.

During the year he was a member of the Newcastle Hunter team which won the Country Championships, captained the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts, gained selection in the Australian Barbarians U20 Team which played at the National U20 Championships, and is a current member of the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoos.

Walsh hails from the Hunter where he played his junior Rugby with Cessnock before moving to Newcastle where he linked up with the Newcastle Wanderers Rugby Club.

He has been a member of the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts for the last three years, which is an amassing achievement, and during that time he has developed into a dominant tight head front row forward.

His potential and strong performances were identified by the NSWCRU Senior Selectors last year, and he was chosen as a 19 year old to undertake NSW Country Development Tour to the United States.

Blake Walsh has shown great maturity and Rugby potential, and has impressed everyone with his dedication, high work rate and willingness to listen and learn from coaches and senior players alike.

Colts Wrap Up Season

The NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts wrapped up their representative season with a match against the Waratahs Gen Blue Colts at Woollahra Oval on Sunday.

The match was the sixth for the Colts in what proved to be a testing program, which saw them play three interstate teams, a leading Sydney Premiership Club Colts and two matches against the Waratahs Gen Blue Colts.

Whilst the 34 – 7 score line doesn’t reflect a good result, the match was fiercely contested throughout and the boys from the bush continually took the play to their more fancied opponents.

With the ground slippery under foot following heavy overnight rain the opening quarter of the match was evenly balanced, and for the majority of the time the Cockatoo Colts had the better of play, but couldn’t convert the early pressure into points.

Gen Blue weathered the early onslaught and was quick to capitalise on any mistake, and it was from two mistakes, a loose pass and a missed tackle, that they were able to cross for two tries to take a 10 - 0 lead.

This lead was quickly closed to three points when the Cockatoo Colts responded with a converted try, which came on the back of some driving forward play and a mid field bust which was backed up by Billy Freeman who crashed over.

The remainder of the first half saw the Gen Blue increase the intensity, and this had a marked effect on the Cockatoo Colts, as mistakes started to creep into their play, and they paid dearly on the scoreboard.

Three tries and a conversion in the closing fifteen minutes of the half saw the Gen Blue Colts go to the half time break leading 27 – 7, and it was going to be a hard task for the Cockatoo Colts to come back in the second half.

The second half saw the Cockatoo Colts recommence with renewed vigour, and they showed a lot of character to restrict the Gen Blue Colts’ scoring to seven points. Whilst maintaining a defence line they were unable add to their tally, and on several occasions they were their own worst enemy when they took wrong options.

Cockatoo Colts Coach Mat Thomas said “whilst the score-line was disappointing, the application and effort by the players had been one of full commitment, and he thought none of them had anything left in the tank”.
He went on to say “the Cockatoo Colts’ during the year had no easy matches, as the purpose of the Country program was to indentify and expose players to a higher standard of Rugby then they were playing at club and zone level”.

“Over the last three years the Cockatoo Colts had identified many talented players who were now filtering into zone senior representative teams and in some instances the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoos” added Thomas.

He also said “NSW Country players were now being noticed at the higher representative team level, which was shown with the selection of three players in the Australian U20 Barbarians Team which participated at the National U20 Championships”.

The process will now continue with the identification of players to be selected in the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts team which will participate in next year’s Southern States U20 Championships.

Waratahs Gen Blue Colts 34
5 Tries & 3 Conversions


NRMA Country Cockatoo Colts 7
Billy Freeman Try
Brad Reid Conversion

Colts Strong Showing Against Easts

NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts put on a very competitive display of fast running Rugby on Saturday evening against Eastern Suburbs Colts at Woollahra Oval.

The match was played after the Sydney Shute Shield First Grade match and a large crowd was on hand to see the boys from the bush take on the city team.

From the whistle the Cockatoo Colts bustled the Easts side with vigorous defence and smart structural play, with the scrum and lineout in particular being dominated by the Cockatoo Colts.

In the 10th minute halfback Jack King showed great vision to take the play up the short side from inside his own half before drawing the winger and sending full back Daniel Sweeney racing away for a try. Then in the 15th minute centre Alex Pay placed an accurate kick wide onto the chest of winger Reuben Thompson who sprinted towards the line and set up Will Frost for a try to go out to a 10 – 0 lead.

In the 23rd minute the Easts fullback showed individual brilliance with a kick return to beat three defenders straight up the middle and score a converted try under the posts to close the score to three.

The ensuing restart saw centre Will Frost injured in a tackle and drop out of the defensive line while he received treatment. Easts capitalised and focussed their attack to that position on the field before sheer weight of numbers allowed them to cross for a converted try to see them take the lead 14 - 10.

The Cockatoo Colts responded immediately and mounted significant pressure right on the Easts line before Daniel Sweeney crossed for his second try, which he duly converted to see the Cockatoo Colts lead 17-14 at the half time break.

The second half wasn’t kind to the Cockatoo Colts who lost their structure and found it difficult to get any continuity of possession.

Easts really stepped up their intensity and the Colts continually found themselves defending inside their own 22 area, with the sustained pressure finally taking its toll which saw Easts cross for tries in the 46th, 58th and 71st minutes to take the match away from the Cockatoo Colts.

The final score was 31-17 (five tries to three) in favour of Easts.

Cockatoos Coach Matt Thomas was full of praise for his team following the match and said
“To put that level of Rugby on display against one of the best teams in Sydney after only two hours training together is fantastic”.

He went on to say “We can now build on this and with a couple of players coming back from injury we will be in a good position for our next match”.

NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts will play their last match of their 2015 program on Sunday 21st June in Sydney against the NSW Waratahs Gen Blue Development team.

Eastern Suburbs 31
5 Tries & 3 Conversions


NRMA Country Cockatoo Colts 17
Daniel Sweeney 2 & Will Frost Tries
Daniel Sweeney Conversion

Cockatoo Colts Selected for Australian Barbarians

Three New South Wales Country Cockatoo Colts have been selected in the Australian Barbarians U20 Team following the recent Southern States Championships in Adelaide.
The three players selected are Phillip Bradford (Newcastle Hunter), Joshua Vainikolo (Central Coast) and Blake Walsh (Newcastle Hunter) who will now participate at the National U20 Championships in Canberra during March.
The National U20 Championships is the final stepping stone in terms of selection for the Australian U20 Team which will participate at the U20 World Cup later in the year.
Bradford (Hooker), Vainikolo (Backrow) and Walsh (Prop) were three of the star performers for the NSW Country Cockatoo Colts at the Southern States Championships, and their selection in the Australian Barbarians is just reward for their performances.
NSWCRU Executive Officer Terry Woodward said “he was pleased for the selection of the players, as each of them had worked hard to achieve the result”.
He went on to say “the selections justified the time, effort and financial resources NSWCRU had invested into their Colts program, and again showed Country Rugby continued to produce quality players”.
“NSWCRU has made a commitment to provide representative pathways for Country players by providing quality representative programs, which enables players to remain in the “Bush” and not have to relocate to the capital cities to gain high representative selection” added Woodward.

Go to www.nswcountryrugby.com.au for all NSW Country Rugby Union news.

Colts Pipped in Cliff Hanger

The NSW Country Cockatoo Colts have finished the Southern States Championships with a heartbreaking 34 – 31 loss to arch rivals the Queensland Country Young Heelers.

In a fast flowing and action packed match which saw the Cockatoo Colts outscore the opposition five tries to three, the result came down to goal kicking, with Queensland landing five penalty goals and two conversions.

New South Wales skipped away to an early 14 point lead when they crossed for two converted tries, before Queensland responded with a converted try to make the score-line 14 - 7 midway through the first half.

New South Wales added another five pointer to go to a 19 – 7 lead before Queensland rallied with a converted try and a penalty goal to make the score 19 – 17 which remained the same until half time.

The first half had been played at breakneck speed and both teams went to their respective benches at the break to put fresh legs into the match.

Queensland came out firing and posted a converted try to make the score 22 – 19 and take the lead for the first time in the match. The Young Heelers big pack was starting to have an impact, but Cockatoos Colts pace around the field was keeping them in touch.

The Cockatoo Colts crossed for their fourth try which was converted to regain the lead 26 – 22 midway through the half, but almost immediately Queensland closed the gap to 26 – 25 with another penalty goal.

The remaining fifteen minutes saw both teams put everything on the line, and the Cockatoo Colts seemed to gain the upper hand when they crossed for their fifth try and the resulting conversion saw them go out to a 31 – 25 lead.

Queensland kept plugging away and was rewarded on two occasions when New South Wales was penalised, and the resultant penalty goals saw the score-line locked up 31 all with little time left on the clock.

Both teams were out on their feet and it looked like a draw would be the final result, but a Cockatoos Colts indiscretion in the dying moments of the match saw Queensland kick a thirty metre penalty goal to snatch the match.

Whilst disappointed with the end result of the match Cockatoo Colts coach Mat Thomas said “the tournament was always going to be a step up in class for the players, with discipline, composure and playing the games out to the final whistle being an important factor”.

He went on to say “given the nature of Country Rugby by not having the luxury of training on a regular basis like some of the other squads, the team had performed very well at the championships, and had once again shown NSW Country Rugby Union continues to be a breeding ground for quality Rugby players.”

Queensland Country Young Heelers 34

3 Tries, 2 Conversions & 5 Penalty Goals

Defeated NSW Country Cockatoo Colts 31

Tries – Brenton Ackerman 2, Adrian Delore, Daniel Sweeney & Craig Ticehurst

Conversions – Daniel Sweeney 3

Go to www.nswcountryrugby.com.au for all NSW Country Rugby Union news.

Colts too good for South Australia

NSW Country Cockatoo Colts put on a classy display of Running Rugby in Round 2 of the ARU Southern States Championships in Adelaide, defeating South Australia 41 – 0.

The Cockatoo Colts were dominating the match from the outset and continually built pressure before halfback Ted Pye crossed the line for a try in the 12th minute.

Strong running from centre Jake Hoban saw him get his maiden country rugby try in the 20th minute after a good build-up of phase play. Then in the 23rd minute winger Dean Wilson made a strong run down the touch line to cross for a try out wide taking the Cockatoos lead out to 15 - 0.

The Cockatoo Colts continued to dominate the game and in the 33rd minute just before the half time break lock Aaron Brennan broke through the line and outpaced the cover defence sprinting 34m to score what was arguably the Try of the Match. Riley Byrne was successful with the conversion and the Cockatoo Colts went to the break leading 22 - 0.

Coach Matt Thomas made several changes at half time to manage his squad, who are playing three games in five days.

Centre Adrian Delore made an immediate impact breaking the line and running away to score a try which he also converted. The second half then became the Adrian Delore show with him scoring another two tries and converting one.

In the end the Cockatoo Colts were just far too good for South Australia and finished the match with an emphatic 41 - 0 victory.

While pleased with the victory, Coach Matt Thomas knows the side will have to improve if they are to account for Queensland Country in their final match of the championships on Wednesday 25 Feb.

“We had a good win there today” he said. “But it’s all about looking forward to our next match and we will have to improve in some areas to beat the higher level Queensland Country Opposition” he said.

The Cockatoo Colts final match against Queensland Country will be played at Adelaide Airport Stadium and kicks off at 9.45am Adelaide time.

NSW Country Cockatoo Colts 41
Tries – Adrian Delore 3, Aaron Brennan, Ted Pye, Jake Hoban, Dean WilsonConversions – Adrian Delore – 2, Riley Byrne


South Australia 0

Go to www.nswcountryrugby.com.au for all NSW Country Rugby Union news.

Mixed Start for Colts at Southern States

The NSW Country Cockatoo Colts have kicked off their 2015 ARU Southern States Championships with a loss to the Western Australia Force colts.

The match was played in very hot conditions at Adelaide Airport Stadium.

Country started the match well however a penalty from an infringement at the breakdown gave the WA side a 3-nil lead after 8 minutes. From the ensuing restart, No 8 Craig Ticehurst leapt high to regain possession and Country was on the attack deep in WA’s territory. A penalty was soon awarded to the Cockatoo Colts, and Captain Blake Walsh took a quick tap and proceeded to carry four defenders over the line for a converted try to take a 7 – 3 lead.

The strong and physical WA side then cemented themselves inside Country’s half with smart kicking and it wasn’t long before they went wide with a sweeping backline movement that resulted in a converted for WA to take a 10-7 lead.

The remainder of the first half was mistake riddled for the Cockatoo Colts and was easily their worst section of the game. WA capitalised on this running in another two converted tries and kicking a penalty goal to take a 27-7 lead at half time.

The second half saw the Cockatoo Colts return to the form they showed against the Waratahs Gen Blue Colts two weeks ago where they dominated possession and field position, however they couldn’t convert this into points. The play frustrated WA into mistakes and many spectators were commenting on the Cockatoo Colts resurgence into the match.

In the 55th minute WA kicked a ball downfield deep into the Cockatoo Colts half, where they isolated the ball runner, forced a turnover which resulted in a try to increase their lead to 31 – 7.

The Cockatoo Colts kept toiling away and by this stage in the match were clearly dominating the set piece scrum and lineout phases, but again could not get across the line.

A late try to WA in the 68th minute ended the match with a 39-7 victory to WA; however the score line was in no way reflective of the contest.

Cockatoo Colts Coach Mat Thomas was philosophical following the match, “We knew the WA boys would be big and strong as they have the luxury of being part of the Western Force franchise”. “They have a strong 3-4 month preparation with three training sessions per week, where we can only get together once before the tournament due to the wide area we come from” he added.

Thomas however was full of praise for his Cockatoo Colts, “we really took the match to them apart from the last section of the first half, in that time we allowed them to score three times and from there it was always going to be hard” he said.

“I’m happy with our boys in the way they turned it around and dominated the second half, perhaps not on the scoreboard but definitely on the field” Thomas said.

Captain Blake Walsh played his usual strong game, Fly half Adam Perri, Centre Adrian Delore and No. 8 Craig Ticehurst also had strong games.

The Cockatoo Colts next match at the championships is against South Australia at 10:30am on Monday 23 February.

Western Australia 39


NSW Country Cockatoo Colts 7
Try – Blake Walsh, Conversion - Daniel Sweeney

Go to www.nswcountryrugby.com.au for all NSW Country Rugby Union news.

Colts Set for Southern States

NSW Country Cockatoos Colts fly out today for South Australia to participate in the Southern States Under 20 Championships.

The week long tournament kicks off on 21 February in Adelaide and will see teams from the Australian Capital Territory, NSW Country, Queensland Country, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia via for the championship trophy.

The Cockatoos Colts squad of twenty five players has been in training since October in preparation for the tournament which is a selection stepping stone for the National Under 20 Team.

Cockatoos Colts Coach Mat Thomas said “the logistics associated with identifying, selecting, assembling and preparing the squad which hails from all parts of the state was a challenge, but it was something which wasn’t new to Country Rugby”.

He went on to say “this year’s squad was stronger, fitter and better prepared than previous years, as the standard at the Southern States was a step up from anything the Country players have experienced in the past”.

The Colts wrapped up their preparation with a two day training camp which incorporated a match against the Waratahs Gen Blue 20’s, which saw the team perform competitively against a team which is in a high performance program.

Their opening match is on Saturday (21/2) against Western Australia, and then followed by matches against South Australia on Monday (23/2) and Queensland Country on Wednesday (25/2).

Cockatoos Colts Squad
• Brenton Acreman Warnervale
• Liam Antrobus Wollongong Vikings
• Liam Bowden Singleton
• Phillip Bradford Newcastle Wanderers
• Aaron Brennan Singleton
• Liam Brice Newcastle Wanderers
• Logan Brockman Orange City
• Riley Byrne Parkes
• Peter Coetzer Port Macquarie
• Jayden Daley Maitland
• Adrian Delore Southern Beaches
• Tom Fisher Orange City
• Jake Hoban Armidale
• Lachlan Hodges Hamilton
• Tom Howarth Hamilton
• John King Grafton
• Adam Perri Orange Emus
• Ted Pye Lismore
• Tom Smart Scone
• Daniel Sweeney St Alberts College
• Craig Ticehurst Nyngan
• Manny Tuiqali Newcastle Wanderers
• Joshua Vainkolo Terrigal
• Blake Walsh Newcastle Wanderers
• Dean Wilson Lismore
• Mat Thomas Coach
• Phil Green Assistant Coach
• Scott McKellar Manager
• David Hawthorne Assistant Manager
• Jason Clark Physio

Go to www.nswcountryrugby.com.au for all NSW Country Rugby Union news.

Veitch Country Colts Player of the Year

Harry Veitch rounded off a successful season of representative Rugby when he was named the 2014 NSW Country Rugby Union Colts Player of the Year.

The Tamworth Magpies and Central North Flanker originally gained selection in the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts after attending the Discovery Day at Singleton late last year.

He was one of the standout performers for the team at the Southern States Championships in Adelaide early in the year, and backed this up by gaining further Country Colts selection for the remainder of the season following the Country Championships.

In his second season of Colts representative Rugby with Central North, Veitch has impressed everyone with his high work rate, both in attack and defence, which rarely sees him far off the ball.

The next step in his development will be his progression into the Senior representative ranks with Central North at the 2015 Country Championships.

Colts Opportunity to Impress

The NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts continue their 2014 representative program with a match against the Country Colts Development Squad this weekend.

The match kicks off at 12.00pm on Saturday, 31 May at Singleton Rugby Park, and will be the curtain raiser to the GrainCorp NSW Country Cockatoos v Australian Services match.

It will be a new look Cockatoos Colts outfit from the team which contested the ARU Southern States Championships in February, with thirteen new players being selected following the Country Championships.

Their opposition will the Country Colts Development Squad which is comprised of players who will be eligible to be selected in the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts which will contest the 2015 ARU Southern States Championship.

NRMA NSW Country Cockatoos Colts Coach Mat Thomas said “the match is a very important one for Country Rugby, in particular each of the players who have been selected in the teams”.

“The Cockatoo Colts will be using the match as a final hit out before they tackle the Waratahs Colts Development Squad in two weeks time, while the Country Development Squad players will be looking to consolidate their positions for future involvement” he added.

NSW Country Rugby Union has made a strong investment in the Colts age division, which now provides players from Regional and Rural areas with an opportunity to advance their Rugby prospects whilst playing Country Rugby.

NSWCRU has developed and established close ties with the Waratahs Academy which is headed up by former NSW Country Cockatoos player Tim Rapp, who is keen to ensure no stone is left unturned to identify talented players.

The NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts will play the Waratahs Colt Academy on 15 June at Campbelltown, while the Country Colts Development players will participate in various discovery days and camps throughout the remainder of the year.

Southern States Championships

The NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts recently competed in the inaugural ARU Southern States Championships in Adelaide. The Championships have been established by the ARU to support the selection process of the ARU U20’s squad that will contest the World Cup in June 2014. The championships will become an annual event on the ARU calendar and NSW Country Rugby is pleased to be a participant providing Country Colts players a pathway through to state and national squads without the need to relocate to Sydney.

The 25 player squad was picked following an intense review of video footage and discussion between the Country Selectors and Zone Coaches, culminating in an invitation trial day at Singleton on 18 January in 40 degree heat.
Over 40 players turned up to the Singleton trial and from there a squad was picked to undergo an intense training camp (including a match against the Waratahs Colts) before heading to the Championships in Adelaide from 20-24 February.

Arriving in Adelaide the Cockatoo Colts quickly realised they were playing rugby at an unprecedented level with Super Rugby Franchises Western Force, Melbourne Rebels and ACT Brumbies all taking part.

In addition the QLD Country and South Australia squads had an advantage by reverting to U19’s programs in 2013 and rolling those players through to these championships.

The Cockatoo Colts had to get themselves over the “wow” factor and appreciate the rugby opportunity that they had been granted.

First match was against the inform WA Force outfit who had the luxury of 5-6 players coming back from their “A” squad who feed the Super Rugby Force squad. The WA side got out of the blocks quick and were playing a strong and effective style against the Cockatoo Colts. Adding to the WA team’s fortune was the amount of errors the Cockatoo Colts were making and WA were making them count with points. Many of the Cockatoo Colts played with determination and spirit but were no match going down 53-nil. Best for the Cockatoo Colts were Captain Mackenzie Rae, Prop Blake Walsh and Centre Connor Rae.

Game two of the championships saw the Cockatoo Colts up against arch rivals QLD Country. The teams hadn’t played each other for two years and QLD Country were keen to reverse the result from that National 20’s tournament where the Country Cockatoo Colts got the better of them. Again early mistakes were the problem with the Cockatoo Colts allowing QLD Country to capitalise and run in three first half tries. In the second half the Cockatoo Colts found there mojo and started to dominate the game returning two tries to QLD Country’s one try. However in the end it was the poor start that cost the Cockatoo Colts going down 27-10. Again Captain Mackenzie Rae was solid along with prop Blake Walsh and centre Jaden Hetherington. 

Playing their third game in three days, the Cockatoo Colts lined up for their final match of the championships against South Australia Falcons. The Falcons were high in confidence after snatching an after the siren victory over QLD Country in their first game and then having a day off before meeting the Cockatoo Colts. This match was a very tight affair with the Cockatoo colts dominating a lot of possession without capitalising into points. The Falcons scored three first half tries to the cockatoo colts one heading to the break leading 17-5. In the second half things started to work for the Cockatoo Colts scoring two tries to be two points behind at 15-17 with 15 minutes to play. Prop Blake Walsh then peeled of the side of a driving maul and went 25 metres beating 3-4 defenders to score beside the posts. The conversion saw the Cockatoo colts 22-17 in front with ten minutes to play, a lead they should have taken to full-time. However as the saying goes “it’s never over until it’s over” and the Falcons took a high risk kick down field in the final minute of the match. Cockatoo Colts fullback Jeb Freeman looked to have the kick covered but copped a bad bounce straight back over his head and into the hands of a flying Falcons player who raced 30 metres to score under the posts and level the scores. The successful conversion immediately followed by the full-time whistle saw the Falcons take the match 24-22. Players to impress for the Cockatoo Colts were Blake Walsh, Harry Veitch and Carlin Simon.

While the Cockatoo Colts didn’t win a match this campaign, there were a lot of promising signs from our players and valuable lessons learnt by our coaches, selectors and administrators in how the Cockatoo Colts can prepare better and be much more successful at the 2015 ARU Southern States Championships.

The NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts squad will now be reselected following the upcoming NSW Country Championships at Mudgee for the second phase of their 2014 program.

Colts Kick Off Early in 2014

The first NSW Country representative squad for the 2014 season has been named with the announcement of the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts training squad.

• Hamish Austin – Maitland – Newcastle Hunter
• Darcy Barker – Tamworth – Central North
• Brenton Braithwaite – Orange Emus – Central West
• Terry Brown – Orange City – Central West
• Mike Carr – Tamworth – Central North
• Peter Coetzer – Port Macquarie – Mid North Coast
• Nick Cook – Newcastle Wanderers – Newcastle Hunter
• Tanner Felix – Newcastle Wanderers – Newcastle Hunter
• Jeb Freeman – Coffs Harbour – Mid North Coast
• Daniel Grenhan – Kiama – Illawarra
• Daryen Hazell – Forbes – Central West
• Alec Herridge – Terrigal – Central Coast
• Jaden Hetherington – Merewether Carlton – Newcastle Hunter
• Angus MacDougall – Lismore – Far North Coast
• Junior Mapesone – Camden – Illawarra
• Nick Mastro – Avondale – Illawarra
• Patrick Mau – Wollongong Vikings – Illawarra
• Connor O’Leary – Merewether Carlton – Newcastle Hunter
• Jackson Paul – Maitland – Newcastle Hunter
• Ted Pye – Wollongbar Alstonville – Far North Coast
• Mackenzie Rae – Merewether Carlton – Newcastle Hunter
• Ricky Scott – Blayney – Central West
• Tom Sewell – Armidale – New England
• Carlin Simon – Kiama – Illawarra
• Harry Veitch – Tamworth – Central North
• Blake Walsh – Newcastle Wanderers – Newcastle Hunter
• Jackson Walsh – Newcastle Wanderers – Newcastle Hunter

Selection in this squad is the first step in the selection pathway for the Australian U20’s which will contest the U20 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand during June.

The squad will now assemble in Sydney on 8 & 9 February to attend a training camp, and play a series of trial matches against the Waratahs Colts training squads.

At the completion of the training camp twenty five players will be selected for the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts to participate in the Southern States Colts Championships in Adelaide on 22 – 24 February 2014.

Teams from ACT, NSW Country, Queensland Country, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia will contest the Southern States Colts Championships. A Southern States Colts Team will be selected at the conclusion of these championships which will then play a series of matches against the Reds and Waratahs Colts for final selection in the Australian U20’s for the RWC.

NSW Country Coach Matt Thomas said “selecting the squad had been a mammoth exercise given the early timing of the Southern States, but it had been pleasing to see the large number of players who had trialled”.

He went on to say “the Southern States Championships was a great pathway opportunity for Country players, and was something NSW Country Rugby Union had been pushing for with the ARU for several years”.

Barker Named Colts Player of the Year

Tamworth Rugby Club’s Jack Barker has been named the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts Player of the Year for the 2013 season.

He was presented with the award by NRMA’s Community Engagement Manager Brad O’Hara at a function in Wollongong following the Colts match against the ACT.

A product of the Tamworth Junior Rugby Club, Barker in his second season of Colts Rugby had an outstanding representative season with Central North and the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts.

Having missed Country selection in 2012, he made sure of his selection in 2013 with some powerful performances at the Country Championships with the Central North team which didn’t enjoy the best of results.

He made an outstanding debut for the Colts against the VRU Colts Development XV, with him being named the Player’s Player and also scoring heavily in the Player of the Year Award points.

Equally at home playing at No 8 or Flanker, the raw boned Barker had an impact in each of the remaining Country matches against the VRU Colts and ACT Colts, which saw him pick up Player of the Year points in each match.

NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts coach Matt Thomas said “Jack Barker thoroughly deserved the award and that he was a typical no nonsense style of Rugby player who mixed touch defence with hard running and good ball skills in attack”.

After being named the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts Player of the Year, Barker said “winning the award was the highlight of his Rugby career to date”. He added “playing for Country had provided him with an opportunity to receive quality coaching and also play at a higher level with some quality players, which had greatly improved his playing skills”.

Missed Opportunities Hurt Cockatoo Colts

The NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts finished their 2013 program with a close but disappointing 17 – 7 loss to the ACT Colts in Wollongong.

The match for the Cockatoo Colts could be best described as one of missed opportunities, with the team being unable to convert possession and field position into points on the score board at critical times during the match.

An unconverted try to the ACT Colts from a disjointed scrum in the opening minutes of the match set the young Cockatoos back on their heels, and it took them quite awhile before they got into the pace of the match.

Once settling into the match the team started to play some attractive and attacking Rugby, but on numerous occasions the attacking raids came to nothing as a result of indecision, wrong option taking or strong ACT defence.

At various times during the ensuing twenty minutes both teams made numerous attacking raids, but neither were able to get over the others try line. Both teams were keen to run the ball, and on several occasions each side elected to kick for touch rather than kick for goal.

The scoring drought was finally broken in the twenty seventh minute when Country were mounting a promising attacking raid in the ACT’s twenty two, when a long cut out pass was intercepted for a converted try resulting in the ACT skipping away to a 12 – 0 lead.

Country recovered quickly and continued to attack strongly, which had the ACT having to pull out all stops and on several occasions conceded penalties at the breakdown.

With less than a minute left on the clock an ACT player was sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements at the breakdown. The Cockatoo Colts capitalised very quickly and flanker Andrew Boyce finished off a surging drive to peel off and cross for a converted try, which made the score 12 – 7 at the break.

The majority of the second half was basically dominated by the Cockatoo Colts, but as had been the case in the first half, try scoring opportunities were once again denied by indecision, poor options and very solid defence.

After weathering attacking raids for the majority of the half the ACT started to apply their own pressure, and they were rewarded when a loose Country lineout throw in their own twenty two resulted in the ACT powering over for a try to set up a winning 17 – 7 lead.

The Cockatoo Colts continued to apply pressure for the remainder of the match, which saw them coming close to scoring on several occasions, but unfortunately there was no further addition to the score-line.
Player of the Match was lock Vilai Kelemete while Flankers Andrew Boyce and Jack Barker together with half back Stuart McVicar and fullback Pratik Ahuja all played strongly.

ACT Colts – 17
3 Tries & Conversion
NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts – 7
Andrew Boyce Try
Pratik Ahuja Conversion

Cockatoo Colts Face Up Against ACT

The NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts will face up against the ACT Colts this Sunday in Wollongong in what will be their last match for 2013.

Following on from their very successful tour to Melbourne which saw the young Cockatoos register two very impressive victories over the VRU Colts, the team is gearing themselves for a very tough match against the ACT.

The ACT Colts have had the better of the results over the last two seasons, but a change in the structure of the Cockatoo Colts’ program sees the team go into the match with the benefit of a training camp and two matches under their respective belts.

NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts coach Matt Thomas knows the ACT Colts will be a much stronger side than the VRU opposition, but is confident this year’s team is up to causing a major upset.

He said “this year’s team is much stronger in all positions across the playing squad, where in previous years there were several positions which had some weaknesses”.

Thomas went on to say “the team’s preparation together with the way they have bonded as a group has seen them develop into a very impressive squad who has the confidence to back themselves on the playing field”.

The match will be played on Sunday, 19 May at Vikings Rugby Park, Wollongong kicking off at 12.30pm.

At the completion of the match the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts Player of the Year will be announced at a function in the Vikings Rugby Club.

Admission is free and local Rugby supporters are encouraged to come along and see two very impressive Colts teams in action.

Cockatoo Colts Claim Second Victorian Scalp

The NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts made it two wins from two matches when they defeated the VRU Colts 28 – 19 to round off their Melbourne tour.

The match was played as the main curtain raiser to the SupeRugby fixture between the Melbourne Rebels v Chiefs at AAMI Park, Melbourne on Friday, 3 May 2013.

After an early settling in period by both teams the Cockatoo Colts were awarded a penalty at the ninth minute which resulted in centre Daniel Damen kicking a penalty goal to take Country out to a 3 point lead.

The following period of play was very tightly contested, but unfortunately Country’s discipline lapsed and the VRU were awarded three penalties in quick succession, and at the twenty minute mark the VRU had skipped away to a 9 – 3 lead.

However, Country held their composure and at the twenty second minute mark winger Rhys Peters charged onto a sensational pass from fullback Pratik Ahuja to race thirty metres to score a great try which was converted by Daniel Damen, and the NRMA Country Colts had regained the lead 10 - 9.

In the thirtieth minute Country were awarded a penalty forty metres out and elected to take the scrum, which resulted in centre Tarpaki Rahui splinting the opposition wide open to cross for a try, which was again converted by Daniel Damen to see the score climb to 17 - 9.

The remainder of the half was very even, and with no addition to the score the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts went to the half time break leading 17 – 9.

VRU came out in the second half with renewed vigour, and in the forty first minute caught the Country defence napping and crossed for a soft unconverted try which closed Country’s lead to 17 – 14.

Country came back strongly by attacking with sweeping backline movements, one of which resulted in winger Rhys Peters out sprinting the defence to score an unconverted try to increase the lead to 22 – 14.

The Vic’s then launched a series of strong attacks which had the Country Colts pinned in their twenty two and having to defend strongly.

Country weathered the onslaught and were able to breakout, and after working play into the VRU twenty two they were awarded a penalty in the fifty third minute from which a penalty goal was kicked by Daniel Damen to take Country out to a 25 – 14 lead.

The VRU team rallied and again lay siege to Country’s line, and after ten minutes of continuous attack they elected to take a tap from a penalty and drove over for an unconverted try to close the score line to 25 – 19 with five minutes left on the clock.

With the siren about to sound Country launched an attack, which saw the ball kicked into the VRU in-goal and a race ensued between players, with a penalty being awarded to Country when one of their players were held back by a defender. A penalty goal was kicked by Daniel Damen to round off the final score as 28 – 19.

Players to standout were Player’s Player Rhys Peters (wing), Jack Barker (No 8), Chris Nagy (Lock), Matt Fairburn (Prop) and Grant Knight (Five Eight).

The NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts’ next match will be on Sunday, 19 May 2013 against the ACT Colts in Wollongong.

NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts – 28
Rhys Peters 2 & Tarpaki Rahui Tries
Daniel Damen 3 Penalty Goals & 2 Conversions


VRU Colts XV – 19
2 Tries & 3 Penalty Goals

Cockatoo Colts in First Up Win

The NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts have opened their 2013 representative program with a hard fought victory over the VRU Colts Development XV at Moorabbin.

In very cold, wet and windy conditions the young Cockatoos had to overcome a spirited VRU team and a lopsided penalty count to register a strong 29 – 10 win.

The Referees whistle signalled the kick off and the opening of the skies, and steady rain continued throughout the duration of the match, which made handling and ball control very difficult.

After conceding an early three point lead the Cockatoo Colts went on the attack and set up camp in the VRU’s twenty two, and after several near misses prop Blake Walsh powered over in the twelfth minute for a converted try to take a 7 – 3 lead.

The next ten minutes saw the Country boys dominate the play and field position, but it wasn’t until a well executed blindside raid from a scrum win saw winger Rhys Peters make a side stepping run to score an unconverted try to take the score out to 12 – 3.

From the restart the VRU gained possession, and after going close on several occasions a forward drive resulted in a converted try being scored next to the posts to close the score line to 12 – 10.

Once again the Cockatoo Colts went on the attack, but a combination of strong defence and poor options denied any addition to the score until fullback Pratik Ahuja finished off a sweeping counter attack to score in the corner to make the half time score 17 – 10 to the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts.

The continuing rain and wind made conditions deteriorate and the second half became an arm wrestle, with a string of penalties to the home side making things very hard for the Cockatoo Colts.

Ten minutes into the half the Colts were rewarded with a try to winger Jake Hartmann who was on hand to finish off a series of strong drives to increase the lead to 22 – 10.

From this point on the match became a war of attrition, with the wet and slippy conditions having a major bearing on the ability of the players to control the ball. Players became frustrated and the penalty count continued to mount, until the Referee lost his patience and sent a player from each team to the sin bin.

The final score of the match came with five minutes left on the clock when No 8 and Man of the Match Jack Barker finishing off a drive from a line out win to score a converted try to round off the score at 29 – 10.

Standout players for the NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts in a strong team performance were No 8 Jack Barker, Prop Blake Walsh, Flanker Andrew Boyce, Halfback Stuart McVicar and Lock Chris Nagy.

The NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts will now play the VRU Colts in the curtain raiser to the Rebels v Chiefs SupeRugby match at AAMI Park at 5.00pm on Friday, 3 May 2013.

NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts – 29
Pratik Adjura, Jack Barker, Jake Hartmann, Rhys Peters & Blake Walsh Tries
Pratik Adjura & Daniel Damen Goals


VRU Development XV – 10
2 Tries

All NSW Country Rugby Union news, representative results and zone results are available on www.nswcountryrugby.com.au

Cockatoo Colts Fly South

The NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts head south to Melbourne to take on the best of the Victorian Rugby Union Colts in a two match series on Wednesday (1/5) and Friday (3/5).

The two matches against the VRU teams will see the NRMA Cockatoo Colts line up against a VRU Colts Development XV on Wednesday night at Moorabbin Rugby Club, and then take on the VRU Colts XV on Friday night at AAMI Park.

Friday night’s match will be played as a curtain raiser to the Rebels v Chiefs SupeRugby match, and will be a once in a life time opportunity for many of the players to participate in a match played at a premier sporting venue.

Last time the Cockatoo Colts toured to the southern state they were defeated in the dying moments of the main match of the tour, and they will be out to set the record straight this year.

Since the inception of the Rebels, the VRU domestic competition has improved dramatically, and their respective representative teams are now very competitive and very hard to beat, especially at home.

NRMA Cockatoo Colts Coach Matt Thomas is very aware of the dangers associated in under estimating the VRU teams, as they will be out to impress, especially in front of their home crowds.

The Country team has had a strong preparation, with the players all competing at the Country Championships and then participating at a training camp which has them primed for strong showings in the VRU matches.

Thomas believes this year’s NRMA NSW Country Cockatoo Colts is one of the strongest Colts team he has seen for several years, with the team possessing power, pace, size and skill right across the park.

Wednesday night’s match kicks off at 7.00pm, while Friday night’s match kicks off at 5.00pm.