RORY Parnell has the touch of the Lleyton Hewitt in him — the potential to be Hewie, says Border tennis coach Phil Shanahan.
The eight-year-old and his brother Patrick are part of a primary school team from the Wagga Catholic diocese headed to selection trials that would see them play in the NSW titles.
While the regional selection trials were made up of players from across the Riverina the end result is the eight players are all from the Border, the Parnells being from St Patrick’s, Albury.
The team travel to Wollongong in March to compete for a spot in the MacKillop Catholic School team.
Shanahan said the team make-up was testament to the strength of Border tennis.
“The players came from schools as far away as Griffith and Wagga for the trials so the local kids have done really well,” he said.
“They will go to Wollongong and play against kids from Sydney, Canberra, Wollongong and Parramatta dioceses in March for a chance to be part of the MacKillop team that goes to the state titles.
“Patrick Parnell, our No.1 boy, made the team last year.
“They will all be team-mates but competing against one another in individual competition.
“It really is a stepping stone, a process towards getting into the state team and higher honours.”
Shanahan said Rory Parnell would be tested against the older opposition.
“Most of them are 11 turning 12 for next year,” he said.
“The only way they improve is to play kids who are older, stronger, bigger but Rory has a heap of potential.”
This weekend also sees a four-player under-10 squad representing North-East Victoria at the Wayne Arthurs tournament at Kooyong.