Tumut High School’s Ethan Gilchrist will contest the NSW Combined High School’s Sports Association (NSW CHSSA) rugby league championships at Wollongong later this month after gaining selection in the Presidents team.
Gilchrist was a member of the Riverina team that played South Coast last month in a bid to make the Southern team, and although unsuccessful, he will be given a chance to test himself in the Presidents side, which is made up of players all over NSW who were not selected for their regions in the first place.
Competing from May 26-28, Gilchrist and 16 other NSW players will form the President’s side that will play teams from Northern, Southern and Western NSW, as well as the Sydney West and Sydney Gold teams.
“They just picked who they thought should get a chance to play,” Gilchrist said.
“It should be a good experience, going up there and playing those teams.”
Gilchrist, who usually plays in and around the ruck, played the unusual position of centre for Riverina, but was still selected to play hooker for the Presidents.
“I was playing centre at the trial but got picked as hooker,” Gilchrist said.
“I prefer the number 9 jersey. I just like playing hooker, and going when you want to go, and being in defence in the middle around all the big boys.”
In recent years, the Presidents team has performed well at state, and Gilchrist hoped for more success when competing in Wollongong.
“For me, I just want to play well and see what happens form there,” Gilchrist said.
“Last year, the Presidents side nearly won it and usually they are expected not to win.”
Gilchrist has been in good form on the paddock, recently leading the Tumut Blues under 18s to an unbeaten start in the Group 9 Weissel Cup competition.
“It’s good having a strong side, a good aggressive side,” Gilchrist said.
“We have a great side, and we are just about helping one another out and If someone puts a shot on, then someone else puts one on.”
The Blues product, who also calls upon Canberra Raiders and Riverina Bulls experience, has a chance to progress to the NSW Schoolboys team, and NSW CHSSA convener Tim Wykes, believes the Presidents team is a good platform to further representative honours.
“100% players can go further, because the last couple of Presidents sides have gone well, and up to four kids have been picked in the NSW side in the last couple of years,” Wykes said.
Wykes was an advocate for Gilchrist to progress further, explaining that he wasn’t given the best chance to shine in the Riverina side.
“Ethan played well for Riverina, but they were up against a very good South Coast side and he didn’t get his chance to showcase his ability and was forced to defend a lot,” Wykes said.
“I put forward Ethan’s name, knowing what I know of the kid and I said this kid can play, and luckily, he was our Riverina nomination.”
Gilchrist will continue to train and play club rugby league ahead of the NSW CHSSA state championships.