First-class show

Central Highlands under-14 junior rugby side ruck it up to Rockhampton at the weekend. CH finished deserved winners 14-10.
Central Highlands under-14 junior rugby side ruck it up to Rockhampton at the weekend. CH finished deserved winners 14-10. Sharyn O'Neill

THE coaching staff were in little doubt as to the quality of rugby talent in the Central Highlands region - but now it's official.

The CH juniors executed a first-class display in Rockhampton at the weekend, with all three grades winning their respective representative clashes.

CH under-12s stole the show with a convincing 29-12 win over Rockhampton to remain undefeated for the fourth consecutive year.

Emerald's Odin Wiringi claimed CH's best on field honours, with Zach Turner running a close second.

The U13s also held Rockhampton at bay 31-15, while the U14s finished the better in the first encounter against Mackay 7-5 before backing to win 14-10 against Rockhampton.

Queensland Reds' CQ regional development manager Joel Johnston said the victories were just rewards for the often understated battlers from the bush.

"It's going to be good for the region as a whole," Johnston said.

"We've been expanding the junior rugby out here for a while now, which means more players and more competition.

"It's going to make a lot of teams stand up and take notice."

The representative hit-outs also offered selectors from the statewide Bushrangers squads the opportunity to gauge where their strengths lie in each grade.

"There are few who we have definitely identified as having the talent to go further," he said.

One man under no illusion as to the strength of the CH teams was U14 coach Sam Thomasson.

"They only had one training run beforehand but were able to bring it all together on game day, and out-performed," Thomasson said.

"At one stage Mackay had us on our own line for 10 to 15 minutes and the boys held it."

It was a dominant combination of both backs and forward play Thomasson said, which got his junior charges over the line.

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