Top talent play at Bathurst in NSW CHS Football Championships | Photos

WESTERN has made a strong account of themselves against some of the state’s best junior talent during this week’s NSW Combined High Schools Boys’ Football Championships held in Bathurst.

CLEAN AIR: Orange High School's Mitch Cooper finds open space through the midfield. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

CLEAN AIR: Orange High School's Mitch Cooper finds open space through the midfield. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

Western finished their tournament on Thursday in eighth out of 12 teams, going close to completing a comeback in their playoff game against the CHS Invitational side.

IN SPACE: Dubbo College's Ethan Hyde on the ball for Western against Sydney West. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

IN SPACE: Dubbo College's Ethan Hyde on the ball for Western against Sydney West. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

Considering the high standard of play Western coach Paul Waine was happy with his team’s result.

CHALLENGE: Lithgow's Luke Thompson encounters Sydney West's William Gafa. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

CHALLENGE: Lithgow's Luke Thompson encounters Sydney West's William Gafa. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

“We went down 3-2 in our last game. It was a really great performance from the team. We were down 3-0 at half-time but made some changes and gave them a really big scare towards the end,” he said.

BREAKTHROUGH: Dubbo's Jesse Spang beats a Sydney West defender and brings the ball into his opponents' half. Sydney West won the quarter-final meeting 2-0, picking up a goal in both halves. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

BREAKTHROUGH: Dubbo's Jesse Spang beats a Sydney West defender and brings the ball into his opponents' half. Sydney West won the quarter-final meeting 2-0, picking up a goal in both halves. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

“That invitational team have been together for a while and they’re playing at the highest level of football in Sydney.”

ON THE MOVE: Bathurst's Damian Mays in action against Sydney West on Wednesday. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

ON THE MOVE: Bathurst's Damian Mays in action against Sydney West on Wednesday. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

Western got their campaign off to a great start on Tuesday when they downed Riverina 1-0.

The hosts played Sydney South West for the right to top spot in their pool but their metropolitan opponents were a cut above in a 6-0 win.

DASH: Bathurst's Ryan Rooke and his opponent in a foot race for the ball. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

DASH: Bathurst's Ryan Rooke and his opponent in a foot race for the ball. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

That result meant Western had to face defending champions Sydney West in a tough quarter-final meeting on Wednesday.

Western struggled to maintain possession but their defence kept them in the contest.

Sydney West’s quality shone through by the end as they picked up a 2-0 win.

TACKLE: Western players close down a Sydney West opponent in Wednesday's game. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

TACKLE: Western players close down a Sydney West opponent in Wednesday's game. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

Western lost by the same scoreline to Hunter and the result sent the home side to the 7th/8th playoff.

POSSESSION: Bathurst's Steven Long on the ball for Western against Sydney West. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

POSSESSION: Bathurst's Steven Long on the ball for Western against Sydney West. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

“We purely worked on our defence at training because we knew that was where our strength would be. We played really well against some quality teams,” Waine said.

“We had a couple of training runs against some local teams and that definitely helped us prepare.”

ALMOST: One of Western's rare chances goes begging as Sydney West clear a corner. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

ALMOST: One of Western's rare chances goes begging as Sydney West clear a corner. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

Sydney West went on to win the final 1-0 over Sydney East in a physical decider. Both teams finished with just 10 men on the field.

It was a memorable tournament for Bathurst’s Ryan Rooke. His performance earned him a place in the CHS shadows.