Emerging Rebels coach Adam Bettridge wants the Newcastle under-20 squad to remain on the representative program next year and beyond.
The newly-established team defeated a Canberra regional side 42-22 at Aubrey Keech Reserve, located in Sydney’s west, on Saturday with Bettridge saying the players showed “pride in the jumper”.
“For sure [it can keep going],” Bettridge said.,
“I think it’s something to benefit the Newcastle representative program. It’s great to have them in there aged 20 and showing some pride in the jumper. Starting early is a good time to do it and to get something out of it.”
The Emerging Rebels jumped out to a 24-0 lead, but conceded two tries approaching half-time and held a 14-point advantage at the main break.
After trading blows in the early parts of the second stanza, Newcastle eventually ran away with a 20-point victory.
“It was a good game of footy and the boys all represented themselves and their clubs well,” Bettridge said.
“They were tough conditions and being so wet meant there was a bit of dropped ball. But it was good to see they took the program seriously and that commitment showed.”
Reid Alchin was the stand out for Newcastle with the Kurri Kurri second-rower scoring a hat-trick of tries and being named players’ player.
“It shows what playing with men does for your game,” Bettridge said.
“Coming back to age level from first grade Reid was hard to handle.”
The Emerging Rebels will continue training once a month throughout the season before travelling to Melbourne in October for a fixture against the Victorian under 20s.
Meanwhile, Western Suburbs have deferred this weekend’s round-seven match against top-of-the-table Kurri to a later date with Rosellas trio Ryan Walker, Warren Schillings and Tama Koopu all away with a combined NSW Rugby League representative squad.
The Bulldogs would also be without Mitch Cullen, who was named in the same side last week following the Newcastle senior team’s 20-14 loss to Sydney-based Ron Massey Cup at Maitland Sportground on June 1.
Brad Murray (Central), Josh Charles (Lakes) and Brendan Simpson (Souths) are the other Rebels involved in Sunday’s encounter against the Queensland Rangers at Pizzey Park on the Gold Coast.
After a bye on the weekend competition resumes with Lakes hosting Maitland, Central meeting Souths and Cessnock visiting Macquarie.