Three young potential NRL stars in the making on the Far South Coast have been given yet more accolades.
Kyle Shepherdson and Matthew Moon from the Merimbula-Pambula Bulldogs, and Matt Parsons of the Narooma Devils have been named in the Country Rugby League Under 18s squad that will tour New Zealand later this year.
Their selection for international duties comes after stellar performances in the recent representative games with the Greater Southern Stingrays, which culminated in a semi-final appearance.
Kyle was a particular standout, scoring seven tries across the three rounds and then crossing twice more during the semi-final loss to the Newcastle Rebels.
The two Matts scored two tries apiece in the tournament.
Group 16 chairman Allan Wilton said the three players’ selection to represent Country in New Zealand was “tremendous news”.
“All three thoroughly deserve selection,” Wilton said on Monday.
“It’s tremendous news not only for the boys, but for their families as well.
“It’s also wonderful news for the respective clubs who have brought these juniors through the ranks – all credit to them.”
Wilton said, despite the eventual loss, just making it to a semi-final in a representative competition of the Country Championships calibre was impressive.
“And their performances enhances their exposure to selectors and their prospects of being selected to go on to bigger things.”
Wilton said NRL development officers are looking “deep and hard” into junior ranks of club football, scrutinising performance and prospects for the future, with Kyle, Matthew and Matt’s efforts obviously paying off.
“It’s tremendous news.”
His enthusiasm was shared by Bulldogs president Laurie Delle Vergin, who said the great news for his two players “makes us proud as a club”.
“These two are absolutely exciting on the field – totally alive and bring the crowd to their feet every time they get the ball,” he said.
Delle vergin said Kyle in particular had “an amazing combo of step and speed” but they both really knew the game well, helped in no small way by tactical coaching from Bernie Maher and current coach Tom McMillan.
The Country Under 18s and Under 16s squads are scheduled to play in New Zealand in July.
The Under 18s side named following the Country Championships final played on Saturday includes:
- Charlie Staines – Forbes Magpies
- Jye Bieman-King – West Maitland
- Kyle Shepherdson – Merimbula-Pambula
- Max Altus – North Tamworth
- Matt Parsons – Eden-Cobargo
- Matt Burton – Dubbo CYMS
- Cameron Davies – Erina
- Riley Cheshire – Bathurst St. Pats
- Cody Bryant – Central Newcastle
- Sam Jones – West Maitland
- Darby Medlyn – Parkes Spacemen
- Luke Gale – Dubbo Macquarie
- Joe Bromage – Cessnock
- Matthew Moon – Merimbula-Pambula
- Jock Sullivan – West Maitland
- Tyson Hodge – Southcity Bulls
- Joseph Hobby – Blayney Bears
- Matt Smith – Western Suburbs
Coach: Aaron Watts