Experience key factor in Group battle


Group Seven coach Peter Hooper believes his side's wealth of depth and experience will be decisive factors in Saturday's representative battle with Group Six at Centenary Field.

Champions of the NSW Country Tier Two competition last year, Group Seven appear stronger on paper than their Group Six neighbours.

Group Seven coach Peter Hooper.

Group Seven coach Peter Hooper.

Selectors were forced to make changes due to injuries, but Hooper said the reshuffle hadn't affected his team's preparation or confidence.

"We've got experience, we've kept the main nucleus of the side together for the last three or four years and we've got leaders across the park," he said.

"They're probably all captains in their own right. When we get to this level, I don't have to do too much. You play what's in front of you and utilise your strengths. We've got some little things in place, but we'll mainly concentrate on defence and let the rest flow from that."

Nick Lazerevski, Nathan Ford and Mark Asquith have all withdrawn due to various injuries.

Their replacements are Nathan Deaves, Hans Schuster and Keiran Poole.

"It was a bit of a headache not to pick those blokes in the first place," Hooper said.

"Injuries are always a tough way to lose blokes, but we're happy to get guys in who also deserve to be there, and it just highlights the quality of depth in Group Seven."

Hooper likes the balance of his side in every position.

"They all get along well and they get on the same page really quickly," he said.

"It took about five or 10 minutes of explaining what I wanted and it's been smooth sailing. We've got some good talkers out there."

Group Six are expected to provide a strong challenge in the forwards.

"They'll have good go-forward and we know they'll have good players," Hooper said.

"We think we've got a good side and I'm sure they think they've got a good side.

"I'm looking forward to Nathan Deaves having a run at this level. I think he'll go well."

Players from both teams are vying for selection in the Greater Southern Region side.

"It's a selection game," Hooper said.

"The boys want to play at the highest level that they can. Everyone's committed to the cause."

GROUP 7: 1 Joel Roberts (Gerringong), 2 Nathan Deaves (Nowra- Bomaderry), 3 Tyson Brown (Warilla), 4 Bronx Goodwin (Shellharbour), 5 Taylor Hudson (Gerringong), 6 Pat Cronin (c) (Gerringong), 7 Jonathon Dallas (Jamberoo), 8 Andrew Diomei (Warilla), 9 Hans Schuster (Shellharbour City), 10 Damien Paulissen (Warilla), 11 Gary Warburton (Milton-Ulladulla), 12 Keiran Rankmore (Warilla), 13 Aaron Henry (Warilla). Interchange: 14 Kieran Poole (Kiama), 15 Harold Snell (Shellharbour), 16 Craig Stapleton (Shellharbour), 17 Corey Mulhall (Gerringong). Coach: Peter Hooper.

GROUP 6: 1 Michael Lett (Picton), 2 Matthew McCauley (Appin), 3 Nick Crouch (Camden), 4 Blake Judd (Thirlmere), 5 Blake Ritchie (The Oaks), 6 Matthew Brasington (The Oaks), 7 Mitchell Brasington (The Oaks), 8 Robbie Payne (Mittagong), 9 Todd Pes (Camden), 10 Neil Begovich (The Oaks), 11 Samuel Conlon (Camden), 12 Alex Peters (Picton), 13 Warwick Carter (Mittagong). Interchange: 14 Eddie Paea (Thirlmere), 15 Tom Moon (Appin), 16 Kenny Ahovelo (Picton), 17 Yileen Gordon (Thirlmere). Coach: Brendon Reeves.


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