DREAM TEAM: Who would make a Fraser Coast rep side?

LEAGUE: Bundaberg Rugby League's team for the 47th Battalion Carnival is very much a Bundaberg team.

Of the 18-man squad announced Wednesday, only one man - Maryborough Brothers forward Mason Atkinson - currently plays for a Fraser Coast team.

While injuries have certainly played their part in the decimation of Antonio Kaufusi and Ashley Simpson's first representative squad, the composition of the region's representative team always generates discussion: who is involved, how the team is picked, and sadly, which players will and already have withdrawn.

There is no current plan to hold a Fraser Coast v Bundaberg fixture as a selection trial, but we couldn't help but think about who would make this hypothetical team in 2018.

To qualify, players must be taking the field for one of the Coast's three A-grade teams - Hervey Bay Seagulls, Wallaroos and Maryborough Brothers - this season. Injuries and availability have been overlooked to create the team.

Wallaroos are miles ahead of their local rivals as far as the competition is concerned so expect heavy representation from the boys in blue and white.

FULLBACK

Wallaroos have two custodians who easily stake a claim: new man Dylan McCrae and former fullback Joey Alberts, who returned to the club after an off-season with the Capras.

They have consistently played in the important position, and while Liam Chapman has been solid for Maryborough Brothers you can't go past the electrifying Wallaroos duo.

Alberts has five tries to date, though they have come from hooker (three) and the wing (two), while McCrae has one.

It is tough to split between the two, but Wallaroos incumbent gets the nod this time.

Selection: Dylan McCrae (Wallaroos)

 

BUNDABERG RUGBY LEAGUE: Roos fullback Dylan Mccrae is assisted from the field after an ankle injury in the third minute. Wallaroos v Hervey Bay at Eskdale Park, Maryborough.
BUNDABERG RUGBY LEAGUE: Roos fullback Dylan Mccrae is assisted from the field after an ankle injury in the third minute. Wallaroos v Hervey Bay at Eskdale Park, Maryborough. Matthew McInerney

WINGERS

The lack of consistent playing positions, performances and results will continue to hurt Maryborough Brothers and Hervey Bay, but this is arguably the toughest to pick.

Wallaroos have had a stack of solid performers, with Joey Alberts, Brandon Clayton and Hamish McKinnon all playing well, and a man like Sam Hutchins (who has exclusively played second row this season) has previously got the job done.

At Hervey Bay, Nathan McDonnell offers a very handy goalkicking option, while Daniel Sylvester and young gun Ben Hudson could argue for themselves.

 

 

Junior Rugby League Development Day, Torbanlea - NRL school based trainee Brandon Clayton.
Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Junior Rugby League Development Day, Torbanlea - NRL school based trainee Brandon Clayton. Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle Valerie Horton

Maryborough Brothers boasts the likes of Liam Chapman, Zac Reid and Ethan Fisher, all of whom have crossed the stripe this season.

The lack of success both Hervey Bay and Maryborough Brothers have enjoyed in 2018 makes it harder to pick their players.

A pre-existing combination with the region's best centre has helped Clayton, while both Alberts and McDonnell are handy men to have on the flank.

Selections: Brandon Clayton (Wallaroos) and either Joey Alberts (Wallaroos) or Nathan McDonnell (Hervey Bay).

 

 

Roos hooker Joey Alberts passes.BUNDABERG RUGBY LEAGUE: Wallaroos v Hervey Bay at Eskdale Park, Maryborough.
Roos hooker Joey Alberts passes.BUNDABERG RUGBY LEAGUE: Wallaroos v Hervey Bay at Eskdale Park, Maryborough. Matthew McInerney

CENTRES

Reigning BRL joint player of the year Shaun Collins is an automatic selection in this team.

The veteran is the first man picked. His leadership, skill and experience - not to mention how difficult he is to stop - makes Collins impossible to ignore.

 

Roos centre Shaun Collins.BUNDABERG RUGBY LEAGUE: Wallaroos v Hervey Bay at Eskdale Park, Maryborough.
Roos centre Shaun Collins.BUNDABERG RUGBY LEAGUE: Wallaroos v Hervey Bay at Eskdale Park, Maryborough. Matthew McInerney

The right centre is much harder to pick.

His Wallaroos teammate Brandon Law has been a revelation since he moved from the back row, his two tries and five goals this season showing his versatility as, at the very least, a back-up goalkicker.

Maryborough Brothers' Paul Shillingsworth is an absolute handful for any defence.

He has played with four different clubs in the past four years, but has a strong fend and speed that can split any defence.

Hervey Bay's Nathaniel Tanner and Jayden Shepherd, along with Maryborough Kerrod McKenna are unlucky to miss out, while Shillingsworth's left side experience - the same side as Collins - make this an almost a complete Wallaroos backline.

Selections: Shaun Collins (Wallaroos) and Brandon Law (Wallaroos).

 

Rugby League - Roos V. Isis. Brandon Law (Roos) scores.
Rugby League - Roos V. Isis. Brandon Law (Roos) scores. Alistair Brightman

FIVE-EIGHTH

This one is a flip of a coin between two Wallaroos guns: do you stick with man who helped take the side to last year's grand final, or do you go with club's new incumbent?

Ben Waters has previously got the job done at under-19s and club level, while Luke Beatty slipped into pivot and forced Waters to hooker.

Beatty has played only two games this season, and Waters' return to the halves helped power the side to a thrashing of local rivals Hervey Bay.

Maryborough Brothers' pivots Kenshin Tsutsui and Lincoln Willmot have not had enough influence with or without the ball, while Seagulls' playmaker Billy Young is in the same boat.

Lachie Jackson, who did spend some time in the Seagulls' halves, is better suited to the forwards.

Selection: Ben Waters (Wallaroos)

 

 

Wallaroos five-eighth Ben Waters. Bundaberg Rugby League grand final: Wallaroos v Past Brothers at Salter Oval, Bundaberg.
Wallaroos five-eighth Ben Waters. Bundaberg Rugby League grand final: Wallaroos v Past Brothers at Salter Oval, Bundaberg. Matthew McInerney

HALFBACK

Is this the toughest position to pick?

A grand final playmaker, or the men that show so much control over their club teams that, when they fire, they can lift the side to a point at which they can beat anyone.

Luke Waters, Dalton Harry and Scott Carter-Lowe are three fine halfbacks who could walk into just about any team.

Unfortunately, there is only one place in the hypothetical Fraser Coast rep team.

Harry showcased his class in Maryborough Brothers' close loss to Wests Panthers. It was a game they could easily, and probably should, have won, and he played a key role in ensuring players knew what to do and when to do it.

Carter-Lowe is a fighter. He has good vision, a quality kicking game, and speed.

Waters gets the nod here as he has consistent, has runs on the board, and an existing connection with most of this team.

He is guilty of the occasional individual effort which can lead to questions over his decision-making - kicking short when it's not on, throwing one too many passes - but the man is 60% show and 40% go, and that unpredictability is what this team needs.

Selection: Luke Waters (Wallaroos)

 

 

RUGBY LEAGUE: Wallaroos player Luke Waters.
RUGBY LEAGUE: Wallaroos player Luke Waters. Mike Knott BUN020917LEAGUE1

PROP

The heart of Hervey Bay, Steven Dwyer, is the first man picked.

The inspirational aspect to his leadership, willingness to take a hit-up when all seems lost and dedication to whatever cause he sets his mind to makes him an easy front-row pick.

 

Rugby League - Seagulls V. Brothers. Steve Dwyer(Seagulls).
Rugby League - Seagulls V. Brothers. Steve Dwyer(Seagulls). Alistair Brightman

David Ball, the man who moved from Wallaroos custodian to grand final enforcer, never takes a backwards step. His front-row teammate, Jesse Robertson, only knows the word "forward" - you'll be hard-pressed finding him go any other way.

Will Jung, one of the best props in the BRL, is another Wallaroos player who could stroll into the side.

But it's their former teammate, now Maryborough Brothers prop Mason Atkinson, who gets the nod in a tight battle.

 

Rugby League - Roos V. Isis. Mason Atkinson (Roos) gets over to score.
Rugby League - Roos V. Isis. Mason Atkinson (Roos) gets over to score. Alistair Brightman

Atkinson is quality in both attack and defence: he can run, he can offload, and he can tackle. He was the only Fraser Coast player named in the finalised BRL team for those reasons, and he's a near walk-up starter for this hypothetical team.

Selection: Steven Dwyer (Hervey Bay) and Mason Atkinson (Maryborough Brothers)

HOOKER

He has been forced to reserve grade and the interchange bench at his club but injured Wallaroos hooker Jack Horder went close to being the man to wear the No.9.

Horder narrowly fell to Maryborough Brothers rake Anaru Nathan to the starting side, his goalkicking, and experience his strongest attributes in one of the tightest positional battles.

Hervey Bay has had the likes of Ben Keelty and Scott Irving wear the No.9 jersey this season, but with little consistency at dummy half makes it harder to build an argument for inclusion.

While Nathan's side has struggled for consistency and results, he is a hard-working asset, with vision and a very strong passing ability that only lends to his game.

Selection: Anaru Nathan (Maryborough Brothers)

 

 

Mayrborough Brothers' Anaru Nathan. Bundaberg Rugby League Rd 14: Maryborough Brothers v Past Brothers at Eskdale Park, Maryborough.
Mayrborough Brothers' Anaru Nathan. Bundaberg Rugby League Rd 14: Maryborough Brothers v Past Brothers at Eskdale Park, Maryborough. Matthew McInerney

SECOND ROW

Ben Turner is Wallaroos' Mr Consistent and it's that hard-working, strong-tackling commitment that leads to BT being the first man picked in this team's back row.

He has one grand final under his belt, during a season in which he was consistently one of his team's best performers, and he has picked up where he left off this year.

 

Rugby league - Wallaroos V. Easts. Wallaroos Ben Turner caught in a tackle.
Rugby league - Wallaroos V. Easts. Wallaroos Ben Turner caught in a tackle. Alistair Brightman

The other position is harder to pick.

Maryborough Brothers duo Sam Barwick and Ryan Gauld, and Wallaroos pair Sam Hutchins and Rigan Nielsen have all done the job for their team this year, but even then there is temptation to move someone like Brandon Law (Wallaroos centre), Jourdon Wheeler (Wallaroos lock), Nic Golusin (Maryborough Brothers lock) or Lochie Jackson (Seagulls lock) to the back row.

This team needs an experienced hand, and for that reason a former premiership winner in Sam Hutchins can make a difference.

Selections: Ben Turner (Wallaroos) and Sam Hutchins (Wallaroos).

 

Seagull Lachie Jackson completes a strong tackle. BUNDABERG RUGBY LEAGUE: Wallaroos v Hervey Bay at Eskdale Park, Maryborough.
Seagull Lachie Jackson completes a strong tackle. BUNDABERG RUGBY LEAGUE: Wallaroos v Hervey Bay at Eskdale Park, Maryborough. Matthew McInerney

LOCK

An experienced campaigner, a relatively newer face on the block or the young gun who has proved he belongs in A-grade?

You could hand any of the region's leading locks, Jourdon Wheeler (Wallaroos), Nic Golusin (Maryborough Brothers) or Lochie Jackson (Seagulls), a representative jersey and they will get their job done, and then some.

The only bad part about picking one is leaving out the other two - it's another tough position to pick.

While Wheeler and Golusin play big parts in their club sides, Jackson's defensive ability and his fearlessness in attack hands him the No.13.

Jackson has been forced to spend some time in the halves, and while that hasn't suited his style and forgoes his best position, he took it with both hands and tried his hardset.

But he is at home at lock. Holding together a defence and providing an extra oomph in attack.

Selection: Lochie Jackson (Hervey Bay)

 

 

Seagulls lock Lachie Jackson is hit by the defence.BUNDABERG RUGBY LEAGUE: Wallaroos v Hervey Bay at Eskdale Park, Maryborough.
Seagulls lock Lachie Jackson is hit by the defence.BUNDABERG RUGBY LEAGUE: Wallaroos v Hervey Bay at Eskdale Park, Maryborough. Matthew McInerney

BENCH

Selections: Will Jung (Wallaroos), Sam Barwick (Maryborough Brothers), Paul Shillingsworth (Maryborough Brothers), Jack Horder (Wallaroos)

 

The (hypothetical) Fraser Coast team

1. Dylan McCrae (Wallaroos)

2. Brandon Clayton (Wallaroos)

3. Shaun Collins (Wallaroos)

4. Brandon Law (Wallaroos)

5. Joey Alberts (Wallaroos)

6. Ben Waters (Wallaroos)

7. Luke Waters (Wallaroos)

8. Steven Dwyer (Hervey Bay)

9. Aranu Nathan (Maryborough Brothers)

10. Mason Atkinson (Maryborough Brothers)

11. Sam Hutchins (Wallaroos)

12. Ben Turner (Wallaroos)

13. Lochie Jackson (Hervey Bay)

14. Will Jung (Wallaroos)

15. Sam Barwick (Maryborough Brothers)

16. Paul Shillingsworth (Maryborough Brothers)

17. Jack Horder (Wallaroos)

Who would make your Fraser Coast team? Tell us in the comments or send an email to sport@frasercoastchronicle.com.au.