The coaches and selectors at Greenvale Kangaroos had a hunch that Ryan Stingel could really play cricket.
Having been part of the Kangaroos’ third and fourth XI sides in the past few years after coming across from Westmeadows, Stingel was given a shot in the second XI side this season.
Stingel had been solid without scoring a 50 for the seconds, but he did well enough for the Kangaroos to give him a shot in club’s first XI side.
He has rewarded their faith.
On Saturday, in just his second first XI game he made 104.
Kangaroos coach Jarrod Leggett said they were thrilled for Stingel to perform so well at this level.
“It’s quite unique that he hasn’t got a 50 in second Xi cricket, but has a century in the first XI,” Leggett said.
“He’s showed some good signs in the twos without getting a 50 and has plenty of ticker.
“He has a good work ethic at training and good temperament. With us struggling a little bit, we had a feeling he could play and gave him an opportunity.
“He batted well against the Tigers [in his first game] when everyone else was falling. We didn’t expect him to burst onto the scene like he has.”
The century wasn’t enough to guide the Kangaroos to a win, but it they put in a much improved performance after two successive outright defeats.
The Kangaroos were chasing 5-365, and put in a good challenge by making 282.
Skipper Kyle Adams made 57 not out and Zaheer Hussain chipped in with 47 to help provide other handy contributions.
Leggett said it was pleasing to see the side step up and turn around the form of the past month.
“I can’t fault their attitude and if you had have rocked up to training you would not have known they had lost two games outright,” he said.
“They were still upbeat and positive and it didn’t surprise me the way they played on the weekend.
“It’s disappointing to lose two games outright … hopefully it will make the success even better for them.”
The late showing of Stingel is one of the positives for the club this season as it has struggled to get wins on the board.
Leggett said he hoped the other players would watch what the likes of Stingel, Jordan Buckingham and Matthew Sipala were doing and realise they could perform just as well.
“What I’m hoping is the other guys take his [Stingel’s] lead,” he said. “We have a lot of talent in our group and the performances are starting to come from them.”
The Kangaroos will finish their season this week against Ringwood.