When the 2017 season started it’s fair to say Max Rumble, Nick Tighe and Connor Watts had vastly different personal goals.
All were part of a Dubbo Kangaroos Blue under 15s side which was loaded with talent and for Rumble it was a season where he was out to repeat the effort of making the NSW Country Cockatoos side a year earlier.
For Watts, this was his third season of rugby so it was about really starting to stamp his authority on the game while Tighe, in his first year, just wanted to get used to the sport.
But now all three not only have a Central West Junior Rugby Union (CWJRU) premiership winner’s medal, they also have a swag of representative call-ups to be immensely proud of.
Rumble and Tighe unfortunately missed last weekend’s grand final win over Orange City due to the fact they were on Junior Gold duties with the NSW Country Eagles under 15s.
At the start of the year I didn’t expect I’d be making all these sides.Nick Tighe
Watts was there to savour the moment of capping off an unbeaten season with grand final glory but in the coming weeks he will hit the road before lining up for the National Indigenous under 15s side which plays in the northern division of the Junior Gold competition.
”It’s been strong from the club going through undefeated and I’m proud of what I’ve done,” Rumble said.
Rumble, a highly touted scrumhalf, starred for the Roos, Central West and also the Country Cockatoos side this year.
Tighe was there alongside him, impressing in the 15-man code.
“At the start of the year I didn’t expect I’d be making all these sides. I only trialled for the Central West to get used to the game before the club season started and then I’ve gone this far so it’s been good,” he said.
Watts is thrilled to test himself at the next level later this month.
“It will be good to take that next step and play in the national champs. It’s new competition, meeting new people and its all about rugby,” he said.
“Considering it was just my third year of rugby I didn’t think I’d go this far but now I have I’m really excited to go out and play the high level.”
Each of the three rising talents said one of the best things about playing at the next stage is meeting new people while also learning more about the game.
“Playing alongside them with new plays, that’s the thing I look forward to doing,” Rumble said.
The Country Eagles gelled quickly and drew 20-all with the ACT Brumbies first up on the weekend before trouncing South Australia 83-7.
Watts’ first game for the National Indigenous side comes on September 24 when his side meets Victoria at Ballymore in Brisbane.
“It’s the best in the country so I don’t expect anything soft or anything easy. It will be a tough challenge,” he said, adding he was shocked to make an Australian side.
It was seemingly going to be a challenge for the Roos under 15s last weekend playing a grand final without Rumble and Tighe but the 43-14 win was proof the level of talent at Dubbo runs deep.
“That was all down to the coaches,” Watts said.
“Got to give big wrap to the coaches and all the other players, we worked as a team really hard. It’s a good feeling going through undefeated and winning the grand final.”