TWO of the best players in the Group Nine premiership are heading for a rookie representative coaching rumble in 2016.
Gundagai lock Cameron Woo and Southcity playmaker Nathan Rose have been earmarked as the respective coaches for the annual All Stars blockbuster at Equex Centre on March 18.
Woo is already locked in to coach the Group Nine All Stars, while confirmation of Rose’s appointment for the Indigenous All Stars team is expected shortly.
Significantly, the two grand final winning stars have never previously coached at representative level, but Woo is an experienced first grade coach, including taking Gundagai to an historic Group Nine title this year.
In contrast, Rose is only 20 years old and untried at senior coaching level.
However, Group Nine president Jack Morton has welcomed the infusion of youth into the coaching ranks for the All Stars game.
Morton declared Woo a “great choice” for the Group Nine All Stars and also strongly backed Rose.
“I’m sure they’ll both do an excellent job,” Morton said.
“It’s a positive step.”
Despite his coaching inexperience, Rose is a gifted playmaker and thoroughly deserves to have a crack at the Indigenous team.
The Bulls five-eighth would have be the first player selected for the Indigenous team and Woo is an automatic choice for the Group Nine All Stars.
Morton said the appointment of new coaches highlighted a fresh approach to the All Stars brand.
“It’s all about the reconciliation and raising money for charity,” Morton said.
“Hopefully we can get a big turnout for the game, especially as it will be played on a Friday night in a semi-twilight timeslot.”
Morton revealed the Reconciliation Cup would be the main event on a triple card on March 18.
“It’ll be a big night,” Morton said.
“The first game will be a full-tackle match for girls and it will start at about 5.30pm and will be followed by a game for disadvantaged kids.
“The Reconciliation Cup will complete the night.”
With the involvement of new coaches, the door will be open for a possible overhaul of the All Stars teams.
In a bid to encourage fresh talent, each Group Nine club will be asked to nominate four players at least for consideration for both teams.
Recent Tumut recruits Jett Hobbs, Callum Mulkeen and Keiran Sherratt will be on the selectors’ radar, but more familiar faces will also be in the running for either team.
Morton insists the Reconciliation Cup is the first step in the process of selecting the Group Nine team to play Group 20 in April.
“It will be an opportunity to see some fresh talent, but this doesn’t mean the seasoned players will be missing out,” Morton said.
Gundagai second rower Blake Dunn has been named Group Nine coach for the Group 20 clash and Josh Cale will again coach Riverina.
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