RUGBY league action isn’t over yet this year for Bathurst Panthers workhorse Brent Seager who has been named in the Western Rams squad to take on Italy next month.
Seager is the sole Bathurst representative in the senior team while the city will be represented strongly in the under 21s and 16s teams for the fixtures at Carrington Park on October 15.
Premiership-winning Forbes forwards Zac Merritt, Jake Grace and Ben Maguire plus Mudgee brute Hamish Bryant are some of the biggest names in a bumper Western squad.
The Magpies trio and the Dragons’ newly crowned Dave Scott Medallist have been named in Darren Jackson’s 21-strong squad.
After barnstorming performances leading their respective sides to Group 10 and Group 11 premiership glory, the quartet will slide straight into Jackson’s representative outfit as he prepares for a second and more successful tilt at the country championships in 2017.
Jackson was frothing at the thought of an “in-form and fit” Western side tackling Italy, a team likely to be made up of players with Italian heritage currently playing in the NSW and Queensland Cups vying for spots in the Azzurri’s squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
“It’s an opportunity for a number of players to be looked at, at this level,” Jackson said, he and his selectors naming 14 new faces in the Western fold.
Jackson is aided at the selection table by former Lithgow, Group 10, Western and NSW Country prop Kip Maranda, Group 11 president Derrick Hoe, and Castlereagh Cup representative Shaun Hooper.
“We’ve named a lot of new faces, and the benefit is most of those guys have been playing in finals footy, if not grand finals for their clubs," Jackson continued.
“Each competition was close this season, which is great for clubs and the Rams. Hopefully we can unearth some exciting new talent.”
In a show of strength for the Castlereagh Cup competition, four players - Brad James, Kurt Gudgeon, Jeremy Thurston and Jarrah McCready – have been named in Jackson’s squad.
Orange CYMS guns Mitch Davis, Simon Osborne and Dom Maley are also in the outfit, while Narromine and Group 11 skipper Luke Thompson has also made the cut, indicating Jackson’s desire to pick a monster pack to take on Italy.
Other Group 10 players to make the cut include Keelan Bresac (Lithgow Workies), Riccie Arriola (Oberon Tigers), Jack Nobes and Warren Williams (Cowra Magpies).
Only one Dubbo player, Macquarie’s hooker Jeremy Smith, was included the side, although Jackson confirmed the October 15 clash coincides with Dubbo CYMS’ end of season trip.
Jackson’s first grade side will train twice in the lead-up to the clash, both times at Manildra’s Jack Huxley Oval, on September 24 and October 8.
The Rams have also named strong under-21 and under-16 sides for the day, with both set to take on the Federation Italian Rugby League Australia sides as curtain raisers to the main event.
St Pat’s are well represented in the under 21s team with Jack Mackey, Mitch Squire, Nick Millar and Hudson White making the 22-man squad.
Saints player Luke Bain made the under 16s side.