LONE REPRESENTATIVE: Orange City’s Lachlan Stewart (passing) and his Central West Colts teammates are looking for promotion at the NSW Country Championship. Photo: JUDE KEOGHRUGBY UNION
NEVER, in all his years coaching Central West, has Mudgee’s Scott Hatch had this much faith in a Baby Bulls forward pack leading into a NSW Country Colts Championship.
In fact, he’s got so much confidence in this year’s pack, he’s predicted they’ll be one of the biggest, hardest-hitting set of piggies in Armidale this weekend.
Led by skipper Charlie McIntosh, in his second season in CSU Bathurst’s Blowes Clothing Cup side, Hatch said his side will look to exploit their size and power throughout their second tier Colts Shield campaign, in a bid to claim the title.
A title win would also earn the Baby Bulls promotion back into the top tier Rowlands Cup, which they last won in 2014 before being relegated after last year’s disastrous, winless campaign.
“We’ve generally done pretty well but last year was a bit of an anomaly,” Hatch said.
“The conditions turned out very adverse to our style … we were pretty much playing in a pool.
“We’ve got a very big side … right through to our No.8. We can really play the power game and we’ve got a plan to accommodate that.
“With Central West you’d normally be going there with one of the smaller packs so this year will be a bit different.”
Central West’s title and promotion bid kicks off against Mid North Coast on Saturday morning, before a clash with the victor of Illawarra and Far North Coast the day after.
“Mid North Coast are probably in a similar position to us … but we don’t know too much about their players,” Hatch said.
“We’ve got a group of guys together who are really keen to play and they’re building up a culture where everyone really wants to be playing representative rugby.”
The Baby Bulls are dominated by Bathurst talent, with seven Bathurst Bulldogs and four students in the 23-strong squad. Orange City’s Lachlan Stewart is the colour city’s sole representative.
Hatch nominated several players as “key men”, including Bulldogs Dylan Carter and Adam Plummer, McIntosh and Cowra’s Alex Webster.
Central West kick-off against Mid North Coast at 10am on Saturday, at Armidale’s Bellevue Oval.
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