With just over a month before Bay of Plenty Roller Mills' rugby team start their Northern Region tournament campaign, head coach Steve Miln is confident they'll make the final.
A 24-strong Bay of Plenty Roller Mills team was selected from this year's Tai Mitchell tournament, which doubles as a trial, to represent the province at the northern regional tournament against sides from Northland, Auckland, Thames Valley, King Country, Waikato and North Harbour.
The tournament was won by Tauranga West after they beat Te Puke 31-24 in the final.
The Bay of Plenty Roller Mills team are now preparing for the under-13 Northern Regions Roller Mills tournament, held between September 28 and October 3 at St Peter's School in Cambridge, and Miln is confident of the 2019 selection.
At last year's tournament, the Bay of Plenty side was knocked out in the semifinals before going on to win the third-place playoff. Miln is confident this year's squad has the potential to go one better and make the final.
"We've got a bit of a hybrid-type selection this year and we've gone for kids who can play in various positions. What we've found at the tournament is you need to be able to sub and you need kids who can play two or three positions," Miln says.
"We're pretty happy with what we've got. They're an intelligent bunch, they're picking up our structure and shape pretty well which is nice."
Miln said the main attribute he looked for when selecting players was "good character".
"When you're putting together a Roller Mills team from all over the region it's important they knit together and they want to be part of that group, go forward as a group rather than individually.
The squad is justifiably dominated by players from Tai Mitchell finalist teams Te Puke and Tauranga West but Miln was happy to have players from all over the region.
"The Tai Mitchell tournament is great, it's a tough tournament. Selection-wise I try to see what athletes are and we've got a pretty good spread from the Tai Mitchell - eight out of the 10 teams are represented which I think is good."
Team member Wiremu Brailey said he was proud of himself for making the team because it was a goal the 13-year-old wanted to achieve.
"It'll be pretty cool, tough competition. I play fullback and wing - my focus will be on being well positioned, being in the right place.
"I play for the fun of it and for my future. The big dream is being in the All Blacks - I have to train hard and be focused."
The 2019 Bay of Plenty Roller Mills Squad
Te Rae Ki Moehau Watene
Te Wairua Āio Tumai
Head Coach: Steve Miln
Assistant Coaches: Phil O'Reilly and Mark Iman
Manager: Seamus Collins
Logistics: Aisea Tamani