Wilkie & Co hold off the young guns

by admin

Helensvale quartet Brett Wilkie, Nathan Rice, Mark Casey and Lynsey Clarke have retained the national selectors’ trust amid a sweeping generational change within the Australian team, Renard Peters reports for The Courier Mail.

Six newcomers – two of them teenagers – have dramatically altered the make-up of the Jackaroos squad for the next 12 months.

But the Gold Coast four – all over 30, with Wilkie the oldest at 41 – are still among the nation’s leading players and have shown they will not give up their spots without a fight.

It will be fascinating to see whether they can maintain their edge into the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in three years time ahead of the charge of the younger brigade.

Karen Murphy, the pillar of women’s bowls in this country for so long, needs a revival to be challenging in 2018.

Australian Open winner Ellen Ryan, 18, heads the rookie list after an outstanding tournament in which she was too good for Milmerran veteran Maree Gibbs in the final at Broadbeach. Ryan, a Cabramatta product, is living up to the outstanding potential she has produced as a junior.

World junior champion Chloe Stewart is another to have emerged in the seniors.

Queensland’s stocks of young talent remain healthy after taking the double at the Australian Open junior titles.

Jacob Nelson, from Wynnum Manly, took the boys’ final while Capalaba’s Sophie Young won the girls’ event.

Both are playing in four Tests against NSW this week in an under-18 series at Taren Point.

Warilla player Aaron Teys, who played Premier League for Bramble Bay this year, produced the shock of the tournament last week when he beat Canadian “local” Ryan Bester