Central West Blue Bulls head coach Dean Oxley isn’t beating around the bush ahead of Sunday’s first muster day at Molong – he wants the best players.
And he’s determined to get them.
Oxley and his coaching staff of Col Jeffs, Dick Leach and Graydon Staniforth will get the first look at what’s at their disposal ahead of April’s return to the Caldwell Cup, a step-up Oxley says will seriously test the zone’s credentials.
As such, Oxley says he needs the best players form both the Blowes Clothing Cup and GrainCorp Cup premierships on hand to prove Central West is a region to be reckoned with.
“The best players to achieve the best results, that’s the goal,” Oxley said, looking to up the ante after last year’s undefeated Richardson Shield run.
“We had a positive campaign last season and we need to lift again. We’re not going to reinvent the wheel, but we have to improve.
“The best zones don’t dip year in, year out, and that’s where we want to be, alongside the best.
“We offered a great program last year, and to be honest if we’re going to be competitive in the Caldwell Cup we’ll need the best players in the zone.”
In a bid to draw out the best talent in the region, Oxley travelled to Trangie and Blayney, the host venues for the north and south grand finals respectively, at the end of last season to invite GrainCorp players to trial with Central West.
He also said Forbes’ impressive Blowes Clothing Cup run in 2016 meant the “untapped resource” of the Central West will be tapped into in 2017.
The likes of Dubbo Roos gun Filisone Pauta, Platypi ace Mahe Fangupo and hooker Jarrod Hall as well as Dogs’ firebrand Peter Fitzsimons had all indicated they’ll lead the Bulls’ charge at the next level.
And that starts with a February 4 clash with NSW Gen Blue under 20s outfit – a far from easy assignment – as a curtain raiser to next months Waratahs-Brumbies Super Rugby trial.
“Will need to hit the ground running against the Gen Blue outfit or face a negative start to what will be a positive program,” Oxley said.
“The players who have put in the work and bought into the program will be rewarded with starting jumpers for that game. We can’t afford to start poorly.”
Sunday’s muster day begins at 2pm at Molong, with the Country Championships at Port Macquarie on from Friday, April 28.
Blue Bull will trial against the Gen Blue squad, Canberra Royals and Central Coast in preparation for the Caldwell Cup campaign.