CENTRAL Queensland is well represented in the two squads to represent the region as a part of the Queensland Country identification process.
Coaches James Nasser and David Hickey have named their squads for the Graincorp Country Championships, which will determine the strongest region in Queensland Country Rugby, with the first round being played at Rugby Park on Saturday.
Both squads are a good mix of the best players from the four representative teams that make up the Central Queensland region.
Eight players from the undefeated CQ Thrifty Brahmans squad have been selected to take the step up to the next level, with the hope of making the Queensland Country side.
Under-19 coach David Hickey has named his squad, with 13 of this year's under-19 Thrifty Brahmans making the team.
From this team a number of these players will be pushing to make the Queensland Country and Queensland Country Presidents under-20 squads, which will play in an interstate carnival on the Gold Coast later this year.
Brahmans coach Steve Anderson said he was not surprised by the high number of players gaining selection.
"We did really well and so they deserve to be selected," he said.
Not all players were prepared to make themselves available for selection, otherwise that total would have been higher.
A big mover is teenager Lachlan Campbell, who has been selected in the open age team. "It's fantastic Lachlan has been selected in the divisional side," Anderson said.
The question for a young player of the calibre of Campbell is what to do next if he wants to make the higher levels in the sport.
Anderson said a player with such talent would need to move to Brisbane, where he would regularly play against better-quality opponents. He said in Rockhampton the coaching staff could condition the player and prepare him for rugby but he would be away from the spotlight when it came to representative selection.
"The Australian Rugby Union is creating an academy to support players in country areas," he said.
Such an academy would give a player a chance to display his talent to state or national coaches a couple of times a year without leaving home.
Anderson believes Central Queensland is on the right track and the policy he has implemented this year will enable young players to continue to achieve at a higher level of the game.
The work done by Anderson since his return to rugby union in Central Queensland has been recognised by his appointment as head coach of the Queensland Country Presidents XV Colts.
Anderson said he would have heavy involvement before the squad was announced prior to the under-20 state carnival, which is to be played on the Gold Coast over the Queen's Birthday weekend.
Team manager is Daniel Hooper who, as a development officer for Queensland Rugby Union, was based in Rockhampton.
Anderson said with so many of the Young Brahmans team getting a run in open grade rugby, he would be pushing for the inclusion of players from this area.