KOORINGAL High School coach Tim Wykes insists a mass exodus of last year's Hardy Shield winning players is no concern for a title-defending campaign.
With the historic schoolboys rugby league competition set to kick off on Monday, Wykes yesterday admitted Kooringal would have just four players from last year's championship-winning team.
Youngsters Zac Humphries, Zac McCauley, John Broughton and Jake Brain will be the only experienced Hardy Shield players when Kooringal takes the field against The Riverina Anglican College next week.
"There's only four from last year," Wykes said.
"They went onwards and upwards, some finished year 12 and some got jobs at the end of year 10, but I think everyone else is in the same boat.
"From what I hear there's a lot of young players around."
Covering for the loss of almost an entire squad, Wykes said Kooringal would debut some outstanding young talents when the competition starts next week.
NSW Indigenous under 16s player Jesse Thompson will join the Hardy Shield squad for the first time, while 15-year-old star Matt Lyons will also make his debut.
"Matt's attracting a lot of attention in the NRL circles from the Raiders and Melbourne Storm," Wykes said.
"He's a good quality kid."
The Hardy Shield will start on Monday at Paramore Park with Mater Dei Catholic College taking on TRAC, followed by Mount Austin High School against Wagga High School.