PORT Macquarie Makos under-10 boys made the quarter finals last year and coach Warren Lorger is confident of a repeat performance in 2017.
The under-10s are one of 10 teams the host town will field across the three days of action at Tuffins Lane and the Regional Stadium this weekend.
It is a vastly different side to the one which qualified for the final eight in 2016.
“It was a totally awesome effort against some pretty good sides last year,” he said.
“There’s just four guys left from last year, the majority of them are up to the under-10s but there are also two kids that are under 9 so they’re enjoying the experience as well.”
While most suggest the older they get the more competitive they get, Lorger said his team were competitive and wanted to win.
“It is about fun, but try telling the kids that,” he said.
“They’re having a blast. They’ve trained really well and are having a heap of fun together which is what you want. They all get on.”
Port Macquarie have drawn Pool C which will see them up against Parramatta, Cronulla, Scone, Central Coast, Newcastle City, Hornsby and Western Suburbs.
It could be deemed the “Pool of Death”, although Lorger saw it as a good challenge.
“We run into some tough sides, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.
“They do have a round of 16 so I’d be pretty confident we can finish top four and then worry about the Sunday finals after that. If we can jag a win in the round of 16 we’ll find ourselves in the quarters again.”
The coach will look to players appearing in their second year in the under-10s to lead the way.
“Two of them in particular have a lot of speed,” he said.
“Young Lucas Scott and Sam Blain are extremely fast and my young bloke Cooper and Billy Gleeson did a really good job last year. They’re back in the side again this year and are probably our four leaders which is really good for them.
"I think they’re really capable of making the quarters, they are a really talented side."
”From a playing perspective I think they’re really capable of making the quarters, they are a really talented side.
“They’re so fast. It’d be good to get to the quarters and then hopefully make the semis and do one better than last year.”
They play their first game at 9.30am on field 29.