FOUR of the region's finest young cricketers have been selected to represent North Coast in January's Kookaburra Cup.
Zac Honeybrook, Lachlan Johnson, Jacob McMahon and Harry Nicholson were selected in the under-14s team after solid performances for their club teams.
Johnson and Nicholson come into this year's team as the "elder statesmen" after playing in last year's Cup, where they helped North Coast to second place.
Coach Merv Bourke said their previous competition experience would help the other players adjust to the games.
"Harry and Lachlan were both in the team as 13-year-olds last year so the younger guys could look to them to lead the way," Bourke said.
"It's the first time for Zac and Jacob but I think they'll go pretty well."
Impressive top-order batsman Johnson possesses a tight technique that has seen him labelled by Bourke as the team's best batsman.
Coupled with his solid left arm orthodox spin bowling, Johnson could be likened to a modern day Michael Bevan.
Nicholson on the other hand is one of the opening bowlers.
After topping the wicket-taking list in last year' Cup, Nicholson has developed into a fine cricketer that can consistently swing the ball both ways.
Bourke said he would look at using Nicholson as a middle order batsman as well.
"Harry's a fine batsman and will probably make his home in the middle order," Bourke said.
"He and Port Macquarie's Liam Coelho will form a great opening bowling pair that could be one of the better ones in the Cup."
McMahon and Honeybrook take their places in the North Coast team for the first time.
Leg-spinner McMahon is one of two spinners in the squad, and has the ability to be a solid middle order batsman.
Honeybrook is a middle-order batsman that provides plenty of class with his medium pace bowling.
Bourke said Honeybrook and McMahon would slot well into the team who he expects to be more than competitive.
"They should all do really well," Bourke said.
"We'll take the Cup (program) day by day but I think we can be more than competitive this year."
A player in the team to look out for is Port Macquarie's Angus Thurgate.
The young wicketkeeper was nominated by Bourke as one of the players that was most likely to make it to a bigger stage.
"Angus is a quality keeper," Bourke said.
"There's not too many pure wicket-keepers around but Angus is one of them.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he saw bigger things but it is a little early to tell."
The under-14s Kookaburra Cup Country Carnival will be held in the Manning from January 14-17, 2013.