The Narrandera Lizards have a massive weekend ahead.
In the morning, the Junior Lizards are hosting the competition. All the junior teams, both competitive and non-competitive, will play a home game.
Junior competitions for under 10s tend to be unscored so that the children can learn the ins and outs of the game and sportsmanship before gearing up for competition when they get older.
In the afternoon, the ProTen Community Cup will be hosted at the Narrandera Sportsground and six teams from across western NSW will play. Additionally, three of the junior sides will play on the sportsground before the seniors take the field.
“The under 12s, the under 15s girls and the under 13s boys will be at the sportsground,” said the Narrandera Junior Lizards club secretary Nicole Warren. “We thought we’d have three of our competitive age groups play over there instead of at the high school with the rest of the juniors.
“It’s really exciting, especially for the seniors who haven’t been here in quite a while.”
The ProTen Cup is a relaunch of Rugby League Group 17. Six teams signed up to play, with Narrandera, Barellan, Ivanhoe, Rankin Springs, Hillston and Goolgowi putting forward teams for the competition.
Initially, the Lizards had investigated the possibility of entering the Murray Cup, but when Group 17 re-launched it made sense to step back into the original competition.
Shaun Lyons, who has been integral in organising the senior Lizards, said earlier this year that a senior side was important for the junior players.
“In a few years time these kids will want to move on to a senior club. The closest senior club is Yanco and a lot of kids can’t get over there.
“If there’s nothing here, some of the kids won’t play football ever again. That’s what happens, not just with Rugby League but with AFL as well. They get to a certain age and they just drop off. With Rugby League, I’m just trying to encourage the kids to keep going.”
As the ProTen Cup has a firm emphasis on being friendly and social, the teams travel to each host town and spend the day playing against each other. The first game starts at 2pm, with Goolgowi vs Barellan. Hillston will play Ivanhoe at 3.30pm, while the home team will come up against Rankin Springs at 5pm. After the games wrap up there will be a celebration at the Bowling Club for the players.
The Bowling Club has developed a strong relationship with the Narrandera Lizards, sponsoring them in their participation in the ProTen Cup.