Ben Bruce’s Wellington under-16s side may have fallen just short of premiership glory but he is certain the Cowboys will enjoy plenty of success in the near future.
The Wellington club may have had little luck in the two Group 11 senior grades this season but the under-18s dominated the competition on its way to winning the title while the under-14s outfit impressed when winning its grand final at Caltex Park on Saturday.
Bruce’s under-16s also made it to the biggest day of the season despite a host of injuries and were valiant as they went down to St John’s 22-12. Bruce said the future looks bright for his club.
“There’s a lot of talent coming out of Wellington and that’s good to see,” he said after praising his side’s efforts in the loss to St John’s.
“If we can progress that further then the future of Wellington rugby league is looking good.
“We’ve got out 14s that won, our 16s went down unfortunately but the 18s won it last week and the future is looking really good.”
St John’s coach Bernard Wilson was emotional as he stood on stage to speak after seeing his side edge out the Cowboys in the Dubbo and District Junior League grand final.
The bulk of Wilson’s side has been together all the way through juniors and they departed junior footy as champions.
“It’s fantastic,” Wilson said after the win.
“They’ve been together a long time and this is the one we wanted to win through all the years so I’m really happy for them.
“They can move on to bigger and better things now. They’ll probably never get the chance to play all together again so it’s a nice way to remember it.”
The Cowboys came into the match dealing with a major injury crisis but still stuck into the eventual premiers for long periods of the match.
After starting the better, St John’s led 10-8 at the break and as the undermanned Wellington tired late on the minor premiers went on to score a 10-point victory.
“I think we counted the other day after training that we had 11 of our boys injured this year and some were still carrying injuries today,” Bruce said.
“I’m extremely proud and to have 11 injured and still make the grand final and still put on a good show and nearly beating St John’s is not a bad effort from the boys.”
Wilson said it had been a long time since a St John’s team had won a 16s competition and praised the discipline during the contest.