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Blue Bulls say friendship will win them the Caldwell Cup

By Vittorio Travan

After three and a half months, the Central West Blue Bulls are ready to unleash and give the 2018 NSW Country Championships a real shake up.

Central West Blue Bulls Captain Chris Miller. Source: Supplied

Cowra stalwart Chris Miller has the honour of captaining the side this year and said the camaraderie of the squad is next level. “It’s second to none, the heart of the squad has this belief that I have never seen before.”

The team features damaging players right across the park, with an arsenal of 26  players ready to hit Warren with one clear objective.

“The forwards are our real strength, but if we can get a real roll on we want the ball to sing. Our backs have got a license to use the ball and we intend to capitalise on our genuine talent out wide,” Miller said.

But it is the real old school approach, that Miller says has the squad ready for a big tournament. “It’ a real head down, backside up attitude that Dean has brought in,” he said that has brought a real belief.

The effort to ensure the squad gels quickly has been a real focus for their coach Dean Oxley. The real sense of pride has been evident right across the squad, which has seen friendships form right from the first training session.

“All the coaching staff have just helped us a collective. Each time we come together we are getting better and better,” Miller added.

Former Wallabies Legend Michael Lyons putting the Blue Bulls through some drills earlier in the year. Source: Supplied

The added knowledge from training sessions run by Wallabies legend Michael Lyons gave the squad some much needed knowledge around close quarter contact. Lyons influence did not go unnoticed, with Miller saying although it was only a small thing it will have a huge impact on how the squad will view impact heading into the championships.

“He taught us how to properly prepare for the impact both in attack and in defence. He also showed how to properly evade in those close quarter contact situations which will be extremely helpful.”

But it is also the added work by Blue Bulls manager Angus Wilson, newly introduced Central West Rugby CEO Matthew Tink and all the sponsors that are helping out the team, that has Miller proud to represent the region.

He along with the squad know that an impressive showing at Warren can contribute to the rebirth of rugby interest that is emerging in the central west. Admitting it would be exciting to return as champions, Miller had to temper his ambition but admitted the excitement is undeniable.

“The championship would just be the icing on the cake as we already have overcome the first major hurdle, by forming tight friendships amongst the team” he said.

But he did admit, the squad had a real opportunity to make a real impression in the championship, especially with the return of Mahe Fangupo to the No. 10 jersey. With his undeniable skill, the skipper has real faith the Forbes superstar can play with the control and flair that has him primed to control the Blue Bulls attack.

“It’s no surprise that Mahe at Number 10 will be an absolute weapon and he is going to be one of our standouts,” Miller said.

The Blue Bulls kick off their campaign in Warren on Saturday at 4:30pm in a clash against the reigning champions Newcastle-Hunter at Victoria Park. While Illawarra will face off against Mid North Coast in the other preliminary game starting at 1:30pm.

The final of the Caldwell Cup will kick off at 2:20pm on Sunday at Victoria Park.

CENTRAL WEST BLUE BULLS 2018 SQUAD: 1 Charlie French (Forbes Platypi), 2 Jarrod Hall (Forbes Platypi), 3 Nas Havealeta (Orange Emus), 4 Nick Hughes-Clapp (Orange Emus), 5 Chris Miller © (Cowra Eagles), 6 Dan Ryan (Parkes Boars), 7 Mark Baldwin (Dubbo Kangaroos), 8 Peter Fitzsimmons (Bathurst Bulldogs), 9 Lloyd Rogers (Parkes Boars), 10 Mahe Fangupo (Forbes Platypi), 11 Tom Green (Orange Emus), 12 Lachie Harris (Orange Emus), Jack Hammond (Forbes Platypi), 14 Harry Webber (Bathurst Bulldogs), 15 Lochie Robinson (CSU Bathurst); Bench: 16 Aaron Booby (Bathurst Bulldogs), 17 Tom Dewhurst (Cowra Eagles), 18 Joel Harper (Bathurst Bulldogs), 19 Ben Ryan (Parkes Boars), 20 Feleti Wolfgramm (Orange City Lions), 21 Jack O’Connor (Harden Red Devils), 22 Zac White (Molong Magpies), 23 Joe Nash (Parkes Boars), 24 Will Oldham (Bathurst Bulldogs), 25 Tom Macleay (Forbes Platypi), 26 Dave Birch (Mudgee Wombats)

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