Pair jump ship for fresh challenge at Wallaroos
WHEN Peter Waters took on the role of Wallaroos' head coach he committed to a "bred, not bought" mantra: to focus on local players and develop the club's junior players.
After the reserve grade and under-18 teams won their respective Bundaberg Rugby League minor premierships last season it sounded like a good plan, and has attracted the attention of two Hervey Bay Seagulls.
The stand against importing players drove Paul Shillingsworth and Chris Ahon to leave the Seagulls, zip down Hervey Bay-Maryborough Road to Eskdale Park and join the blue and whites.
For Shillingsworth it is the chance to have a crack at A-grade alongside good friend Luke Waters.
"I saw Peter's article about being bred, not bought," he said.
"That's a good motto - keep it in the local community. That's probably why I'm going over, give the local juniors a chance - no disrespect to Seagulls.
"I've had a chat to Pete and the way he says they're going to play football sounds good."
Shillingsworth, who spent only one season at Seagulls after he moved to the Bay from Katoomba, almost ended up at rival Maryborough club Brothers, but the chance to play A-grade was too attractive.
"I was going to go to Maryborough Brothers with Perter Green because half the boys went there but I wanted to challenge myself," he said. "Stuff playing reserve grade, I'll have a crack at Roos."
For Ahon it is the chance for a change.
A Seagull since under-16s (albeit with a few years off), the second row/lock is keen for a fresh start and hopes it will help him enjoy footy.
"I haven't been enjoying footy of late and thought change would be good," he said.
"Paul was going over and he reckons I should go over if I'm looking for a change, and so I took the opportunity.
"I just want to have a good year, making the finals would be good start but I want to play well."
Wallaroos will start their season against Wests Panthers at Stafford Park on Saturday, March 5.