3 August, 2023

Snakes teen on the rise as a dual rugby player

Caboolture Snakes teen Ashyr Kelso has come along in leaps and bounds in rugby union, having only begun playing the sport this year while also continuing his rugby league career.

Snakes teen on the rise as a dual rugby player - feature photo

An underage player for Caboolture Snakes rugby union and rugby league teams, Ashyr chose to have a go at both codes this year after starting in rugby league at U7 level about eight years ago.

Ashyr gained a player-of-the-match award in the recent Queensland Rugby Football Schools Union (QRFSU) 14-15 years Boys State Championship in Cairns, and he was subsequently invited to trial for the Emerging Reds Cup (ERC).

The ERC, which is a Queensland Reds Academy competition designed to provide a pathway for Queensland U15 players, can lead to selection for a match against the NSW Waratahs U15s.

Ashyr was originally chosen to play on the left wing for the Sunshine Coast team at the championship in Cairns, but he shifted to fullback after the first-choice fullback withdrew due to injury.

With all games at Barlow Park from July 20 to 23, the teams were split into two pools, with Sunshine Coast in Pool B along with Metropolitan East, Capricornia, Peninsula and Wide Bay while Pool A comprised South Coast, Northern, Metropolitan North, Metropolitan West, and Darling Downs.

Ashyr and his teammates began well as they beat Peninsula 34-24 and followed up with a 36-0 win over Capricornia on day one, with Ashyr scoring a try in the first game.

Ashyr also scored in Sunshine Coast’s first game on day two, with the team defeating Wide Bay 42-0 before losing its next match 15-3 to Met East.

Having finished second in Pool B and fourth overall on competition points, Sunshine Coast couldn’t match it with Met West and Met East in the finals.

With the finals series on the weekend, Sunshine Coast lost 24-7 to Met West on the Saturday before going down 41-12 to Met East the next day.

Ashyr could hold his head high after scoring Sunshine Coast’s lone try in the 17-point defeat, before earning player-of-the-match honours in the 29-point loss.

The individual honour came as the coach of the opposing team picked the player who they rated as a standout.

Ashyr said he loved a number of things about this trip; the winter weather in Cairns, playing football, and meeting new people.

Ashyr only knew one of his teammates at the start of the championship – a player from Caloundra – but he later said “the team was really accepting and gelled together beautifully”.

“The families and coaching staff were all amazing, and it made it easy to settle in and play some great rugby,” he said.

“The team was made up of boys from schools over the Sunny Coast region, and some great friendships have come from it.”

By his own standards, Ashyr was never overly happy with his form as he considered he could always get better, but he said he was enjoying rugby union more and more while also gaining a better understanding of the rules each time he played.

Ashyr said he was pretty excited to have the chance to trial for the Queensland Reds U15s, and that he also looked forward to lining up in an upcoming all schools oztag tournament.


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