Group 19's junior representative teams learned a few lessons about next-level rugby league when they took on the Hunter Cup.
The under 13s, 14s and 15s squads made their way to Denman for the carnival and, while they did themselves proud, couldn't come away with the results against the bigger regional areas of Group 4, 21, Newcastle and Maitland.
“They went pretty good, it was a bit of a step up,” Group 19 junior rugby league president Jeanette Hillier said.
“The opposition was fairly tough – Newcastle, Maitland and so on.”
“I don't think the 13s or 14s won a game, they lost all four games.
“The 15s won one and lost three.”
The under 15s managed to hold their own against a Newcastle team who eventually took out the competition.
“The 15s performed pretty well, they were the surprise packet for me because they had some bloody tough opposition,” Hillier said.
“They played Newcastle and Newcastle won the whole thing last year, the Championships, and they only got beaten 14-6 by Newcastle.”
The novocastrians took out all three divisions.
Hillier said it wasn’t surprising given Newcastle’s population base.
“That would be what you would think because they have a lot of kids to pick from, big kids,” she said.
“That's to be expected, if they didn't win all of their games it wouldn't be a very good outing for them.
“Even Group 21 has got kids they can pick from much bigger centres as well but they are not way, way above us in ability but they are with match fitness.”
Though the results were disappointing, the most important part was the lessons learned.
“I thought they did well, all of our teams turned up, competed well and they will learn from it,” Hillier said.
“And that is all you want, you just want them to learn from it and get the experience.”
In terms of individual performances, Hillier highlighted the “outstanding” efforts of Moree junior Jock Brazel.
“Jock Brazel was the standout player for the day,” she said.
“He came out with a broken eye socket and a broken nose but he was the standout, unbelievable he was.
“He was really good.”
The next challenge for Group 19 junior teams is less than two weeks away with trial games against the north coastal-based Group 2 on July 29.
Following that, Group 19’s under 12 and 13 teams will head to Gunnedah on August 5 for a cluster day.
The under 14s and 15s will contest the Country Championships on September 14-15 after the local junior rugby league season has concluded.