ABERDEEN Tigers president Peter Fitzsimmons is hoping this weekend’s major semi-final is a trial run to host the Bengalla Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League decider later in the month.
For the first time in almost seven decades, Saturday’s showdown against the Scone Thoroughbreds will be played at McKinnon Field following a stellar 2018.
The Tigers claimed the minor premierships in both senior grades this season – a feat never achieved before in the club’s history.
An under-strength Aberdeen also wrapped up the home and away rounds with a convincing 44-26 victory over the Singleton Greyhounds, while the reserves prevailed 30-16, too.
Now, all roads lead to the Upper Hunter town, much to the delight of Fitzsimmons.
“We’re over the moon,” he said.
“1949 is the last year Aberdeen had the major semi at home.
“As a club, it can be hard sometimes; however, everything has gone to plan so far.
“But, in saying that, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“And, we’re all heading in the right direction.
“We have a terrific bunch of people at the Tigers, from the players to the supporters, coaching crew to the off-field staff.
“A little mention must go to Kim and Phil Beverstock as well.
“They’ve been great since moving from the [Muswellbrook] Rams.”
Even though the Tigers finished four points clear of their rivals on the ladder, Fitzsimmons said the boys were not taking anything for granted at the business end of the season.
“Scone, Muswellbrook and Singleton are all capable of causing an upset,” he admitted.
“We need to turn up – and do the extra yards.
“The Thoroughbreds are a well-drilled side, so we’ll have to play to our full ability.
“I’m expecting an entertaining encounter.
“The last time the two teams met was the fastest game I’ve seen for a while.
“I think it will be a spectacle to behold.”
It’s certainly a different story from 2017, when the Tigers surged to glory from fourth spot.
“Yes, it is a new position for us [finishing first],” Fitzsimmons said.
“And, it’s a big thing for the town.
“The Aberdeen community is already excited by the prospect.
“Even though we have a very committed committee, everyone’s reaching out to help, which is greatly appreciated.
"But, an extra hand or two wouldn't go astray.
“Hopefully, if all goes well, the Tigers will have the grand final here, too.”
Matches start from 11.45am on Saturday, with the main clash kicking off at 4pm.
Round 15 results
First grade –
Scone defeated Muswellbrook 26-24
Denman defeated Greta Branxton 80-6
Aberdeen defeated Singleton 44-26
Reserve grade –
Merriwa defeated Greta Branxton 32-16
Scone defeated Muswellbrook 34-12
Murrurundi defeated Denman 44-0
Aberdeen defeated Singleton 30-16
Scone defeated Muswellbrook 24-16
Greta Branxton defeated Denman 18-14
Singleton defeated Aberdeen 54-16
Women’s league tag –
Merriwa defeated Greta Branxton 22-4
Scone defeated Muswellbrook 36-0
Murrurundi defeated Denman 18-8
Singleton defeated Aberdeen 46-6
(Saturday, August 11, at McKinnon Field, Aberdeen)
11.45am: league tag, Scone v Merriwa
1pm: under-18s, Singleton v Scone
2.25pm: reserve grade, Aberdeen v Scone
4pm: first grade, Aberdeen v Scone
(Sunday, August 12, at Olympic Park, Muswellbrook)
10am: league tag, Greta Branxton v Muswellbrook
11.15am: under-18s, Muswellbrook v Greta Branxton
12.40pm: reserve grade, Murrurundi v Muswellbrook
2.15pm: first grade, Muswellbrook v Singleton