Golden experience for junior Raiders
FIVE Whitsunday Junior Raiders have returned from the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) Junior Gold Cup having shone for Central Queensland (CQ).
Tyrell Lafituanai, Taine Browne, Jack Kearns, Ben Cornish and Jack Yeoman overcame logistical challenges and the might of metropolitan teams to do the Whitsundays proud over the five matches.
The CQ team covers Proserpine to Harvey Bay and inland to Emerald, making it difficult for the squad to train together.
Despite that hurdle CQ managed two training camps in Rockhampton prior to the first match against Gold Coast on February 15. A determined showing wasn’t enough, as the strong Gold Coast team easily accounted for CQ.
Game two against Logan was closer, with CQ producing a muchimproved display.
After the loss to Logan the CQ boys were tested by a Wallabies strength and conditioning coach, who took their measurements including height, weight, age and speed.
Australian Rugby Union (ARU) collected data from all Junior Gold Cup teams for their database which will help them identify future Super 15 players.
Following this exercise CQ at- tended Suncorp Stadium to watch the Queensland Reds play the NSW Waratahs.
CQ’s third game of the tournament entailed a trip to Yamba, NSW to play North Coast.
A physical encounter suited CQ’s forwards who inspired the team’s first win of the series.
Up next was the might of Western Australia, who boasted some of the biggest 15-year-olds in the country.
The first 10 minutes saw CQ on the back foot, however they battled hard to produce a courageous effort. Despite the loss, CQ’s coaches were thrilled with the gutsy performance, especially considering the strength of the opposition.
From there CQ rushed back to Rockhampton for their final assignment – Brisbane Orange on March 14. An entertaining encounter illustrated how far CQ had come since the start of the tournament, improving out of sight.
Appropriately, CQ finished the Junior Gold Cup with a win, digging deep to hold off Brisbane Orange.
ON THE RISE: Whitsunday Junior Raiders Tyrell Lafituanai, Taine Browne, Jack Kearns, Ben Cornish and Jack Yeoman improved out of sight during the Junior Gold Cup.