BRL under-20 aims to go back-to-back
LEAGUE: "We've got the players there to win it.”
Bundaberg Rugby League under-20 team manager Dale Evans firmly believes the side can follow in the footsteps of last year's team and win the 47th Battalion in Gladstone this weekend.
But they will need last year's players to do most of the work.
The Bears have seven players returning with The Waves Jackson Paulson to captain the side and Joey Alberts, Ben Waters, Nathan Anaru, Brendan Stewart, Hayden Golchert and Jesse Robertson also involved.
"They are the ones that will be looked upon to help the younger players play,” Evans said.
"These players will be the nucleus of the squad.
"Alberts is a good talker and Waters has lots of organisation.
"We've picked the players that have played well for their clubs in the BRL.”
Evans admits selecting the final 19 had been a challenge.
There were a few changes to the original squad with work commitments and injuries taking their toll.
"We haven't had the preparation we were after,” Evans said.
"We had disruptive sessions but got three sessions in Childers and one in Bundy.
"We also had a session last night, a captain's run, before heading off.”
Evans said that wouldn't be an excuse if they didn't win and the squad had trained well in the lead up.
But he conceded the first game of the tournament could be decisive.
The Bears will play powerhouse region Toowoomba in a knockout match first up.
The winner will go through to the 47th Battalion semi-final to play for a spot in the decider, with the loser to battle for the plate.
"If we beat Toowoomba, we'll go really well,” Evan said.
"But we've got the top side first up.”
Evans hopes one player, Japanese international Kenshin Tsutsui, might be the secret weapon.
"If he's good enough to play for Japan, he's certainly good enough to play for the under-20s.”
The squad left today and face Toowoomba at 11am.
SQUAD: 1. J. Alberts 2. J. Leet 3. J. Morey 4. S. Skudder 5. Z. Varley 6. B. Waters 7. A. Nathan 8. B. Stewart 9. J. Paulson (C) 10. J. Robertson 11. S. Barwick 12. E. Harrison 13. H. Golchert 14. E. Sargent 15. J. Thomson 16. J. Batten 17. K. Tsutsui 18. A. Williams 19. T. Tanna