The importance of a junior club to their senior colleagues will be emphasised this Sunday when the Cowra Magpies Premier League side runs out onto Sid Kallas Oval.
While other Group 10 clubs field sides full of imports with a sprinkling of locally developed players, the entire Magpies squad has all grown up on the sporting fields of Cowra playing rugby league with the junior association.
It’s a fact not lost on the coach of the senior side, Craig Jeffries.
“It is very rare in Country Rugby League these days to field a side of local talent,” he said.
“When you look at places like Bathurst and Orange their economy is turning over well and it is easy to attract people to town into jobs and Cowra struggles a bit with that sort of stuff.
“They also have universities and our kids leave Cowra to attend uni in Canberra and Bathurst.”
For Magpies players Toby Nobes, Brendan Tidswell and Blake Duncombe the ties are even stronger given their continued involvement with Cowra Junior Rugby League.
Having graduated through the Cowra rugby league nursery, the trio has made their debuts in the Premier league side this year to great effect.
But, along with many of the top grade, you will still see them at the ground on Saturday mornings giving back to the junior club which fostered their own development not so long ago.
“They’ve put in a lot of effort for us through all our playing careers where most of us have been doing it since we were six years old so it’s good to be able to help out,” Tidswell said.
The senior grade has been role models for junior players since their inception and the new crop is no different.
“Will Ingram [captain of the Premier League side] was always one that I looked up to when I would go over to watch the senior grades,” Tidswell said.
“I remember him running around all the time. Now I get the opportunity to play in the same side with him - he’s been doing it for 10 years.”
“Having grown up watching Dean [Murray] and Brett [Jeffries] and now playing along side them is something that I didn’t think would happen,” Duncombe adds.
Jeffries stressed the importance of the junior club to the seniors
“These young fellas have to have somewhere to aspire to when they come out of 16s and to realise that you don’t need the imports to be competitive,” he said.
“We have been competitive all year, but results haven’t gone our way.”
When you glance over the list of rugby league players that have graced Cowra’s fields, it is easy to see that the town has produced no shortage of talent.
“Our best three kids probably in the last five years, Rory [Brien], Jeffrey [Lynch] and Shannon [Boyd] have been graded by NRL clubs which is terrific for them,” Jeffries said.
More on the Magpies’ home game page 36.