Team on top despite being picked on

Competition leaders: Wentworthville A-Grade coach Gavin Wardle and his charges Raven Nicholls, Tai Faalazaau and Bo Lam are on track for a minor premiership. Picture: Geoff Jones

Competition leaders: Wentworthville A-Grade coach Gavin Wardle and his charges Raven Nicholls, Tai Faalazaau and Bo Lam are on track for a minor premiership. Picture: Geoff Jones

Looking at the first division A-Grade ladder in the Parramatta District Junior Rugby League would make most think that it's all smooth sailing for Wentworthville.

The side is not only leading the competition, but has only lost one game in the opening 10 rounds.

However, coach Gavin Wardle, 34, has had to deal with the club's top side having its pick at his best players when needed.

The club's premier team plays in the Sydney Shield competition and it relies on the A-Grade side for its top players if it requires them to fill a spot.

"Our form has been good, but, to be honest, it's been a bit dysfunctional due to the Sydney Shield," Wardle said.

"It's fairly frustrating but you understand that when you take on the job.

"We're going well and are a strong club regardless of the grade we're in."

Wardle, a former A-Grade player himself, is in his first year as A-Grade's head coach and he has made the transition well, despite the difficult task of managing a squad of more than 20 players.

"It's a different preparation when you're a coach," he said.

"You obviously can't just focus on your own preparation, you've got to think of the team, but I still get the same nerves I had when I played.

"We're trying to sure up our defence, particularly ahead of the finals, which are only six weeks away," he said. "For me, it's not just about winning and losing.

"I want to see them improve.

"Are they better than what they were at the start of the season?"

Although he has only been focusing on building a strong squad across the park, the finals are just weeks away, and the pressure to go on and win the competition will grow each week.

"Obviously everyone wants to win though and it will enter my mind more as the finals approach," Wardle said.

Wentworthville takes on Hills District on Sunday at 11.45am at Crestwood Oval.

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