Looking to future to follow Country trio

Country call: Port Kembla's Jason Ralston is in the NSW Country-ACT squad. Picture: Robert Peet
Country call: Port Kembla's Jason Ralston is in the NSW Country-ACT squad. Picture: Robert Peet

ILLAWARRA trio Jason Ralston, Tane Nunn and Iain Carlisle have been chosen in the Country NSW-ACT squad for the national under 19 carnival in Brisbane in December.

. A tearaway quick, Carlisle was part of Australia’s under 19 team which outclassed Sri Lanka in Hobart last month.

Ralston was part of the NSW Country under 19 national championships carnival campaign last season.

The selections, announced this week, come as University coach Mitch Calder and Dapto’s Kyle Connor will oversee a new academy pathway, as part of an overhaul to make Illawarra a representative force again. 

The duo will oversee the Country NSW junior development blueprint, expected to include the formation of two separate age-based academies, starting next month.

“It’s a long-term strategy, but we’re looking to help improve the skills of our young players and provide them a clear pathway,” Calder said. 

“We’re just looking forward to provide as many kids with an opportunity as we can. 

“Obviously we want it to have a big benefit for the Illawarra competition and representative cricket at all levels as well.”

It comes as Illawarra were winless in the NSW Country Championships last season and have struggled in the Sydney Twenty20 competition.

A thrilling three-wicket loss to Riverina was followed by a humbling 10-wicket thrashing from Southern-ACT and 109-run loss to Western.

It meant no Illawarra players were chosen in the NSW Country team for the Australian championships, held in the region in January.

“It was a bit of a rough season, but there’s plenty of talent in the Illawarra,” Calder, who played at the NSW carnival, said. 

“Providing an academy pathway like this will only help Illawarra be a strong region.”

  • U19 NSW Country-ACT

Squad: Jason Sangha (Newcastle), Matthew Gilkes  (ACT Southern), Tom Engelbrecht (ACT Southern), Blake Nikitaris (ACT Southern), Charlie Dummer  (ACT Southern), Daniel Leerdham (ACT Southern), Raman Phoonie (North Coast), Tane Nunn (Illawarra), Jordie Misic (ACT Southern), Coby Cornish (Central North), Ryan Meppem (Central North), Avery Weilandt (Riverina), Ryan Peacock (Western) Jason Ralston (Illawarra), Ryan O’Beirne (Central Coast), Sam Skelly (ACT Southern), Tom Scoble (Central North), Flynn Parker  (ACT Southern), Pat Montgomery (Central North), Hamish Starr (Western), Kaleb Auld (North Coast), Ian Carlisle (Illawarra).

Mitch Calder

Mitch Calder