Blues beat in battle for Wakely
BANORA Point footballer Campbell Wakely had to make a tough choice: play rugby union for NSW or Queensland.
The talented hooker, who started playing rugby with the Casuarina Beach Junior Rugby Union Club, has opted to play for Queensland and will take the field for the Reds when the national under-16 rugby championships get underway in Sydney today.
However, Wakely could have been wearing the blue of NSW after he was named in the NSW Combined High Schools Open side - and all this while he is only 15-years old.
The Kingscliff High School product was selected for both the under-16 and open teams and was so impressive that he was named in the Far North Coast and North Coast Open sides before gaining selection in the NSW Open side.
Wakely's mother Amanda Schaefer said living on the Tweed and playing junior rugby union in Queensland had presented some unusual dilemmas for the family.
“With the junior rugby club involved in playing in the Gold Coast competition, Campbell initially wasn't eligible for possible selection in Queensland because the rules said that you had to live in Queensland,” Amanda said.
“This left us with the option of going through the schools selection process in NSW to help Campbell's career.
“However, when he did make the NSW Open side, the Queensland Reds became interested in him as well and helped change to rule so that now you just have to play in Queensland to be eligible for selection.
“For us, being selected to play for Queensland was far more practical in terms of training for Campbell.
“The NSW side had seven training session all in Sydney and logistically and financially that was possible.”
Wakely left for Sydney yesterday where he will join his Queensland Red teammates for their opening round clash against Victoria.
If the Reds, seeded No.1 in the tournament, progress they will then take on NSW.
“Campbell's selection in the Reds has created some interesting times in our household which has been traditionally a Blues camp,” Schaefer said.
“I think I might just have a bit of bet each way come the Super 14 season next year.”
The 2009 National Under 16 Championships will be played in two divisions with Division One comprising eight teams - three from NSW, two from Queensland, and one each from Western Australia, ACT and Victoria.
Queensland Red won the tournament last year, beating Queensland White but previous to that NSW sides have dominated the event.
NSW Schools won the title from 2004 to 2007 and NSW Juniors won the three years before that.