Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League under-23s successfully defend Jim Sharpe Cup at Tamworth's Scully Park

GROUP 21’s under-23 men made it a Hunter Valley double when they won the Greater Northern Tigers Divisional Championship at Scully Park, West Tamworth, on Saturday.

The Gary Gardner-coached outfit beat Group 4 28-12 and Group 19 18-16 to snare the Jim Sharpe Cup.

The women’s team had won the female equivalent (Jane Walsmley Shield) earlier in the day.

Group 21 came from behind in both games to win the Jim Sharpe Cup, too.

“They showed a lot of ticker,” Gardner said.

“They hung in all day.”

While he praised all 20 players in his squad, he thought Denman’s Jordan Mulherin, Aberdeen’s Hamish Wolfgang and Scone’s Isaac Austin were enormous, especially Wolfgang, who played both centre and second-row.

“It was a great effort from everyone,” he said.

Ten of the Group 21 squad then made the Greater Northern Tigers under-23s to play North Coast at Coffs Harbour on March 9.

The entire Tigers’ back-row is Devils’ domain, with Jordan Mulherin and Brady Benkovic the starting second-rowers and Andrew Pritchard the lock.

Their Denman teammate five-eighth Luke Rees is on the bench with Singleton Greyhounds stars Will Nieuwenhuise and James Bradley at fullback and five-eighth respectively.

Aberdeen trio Wolfgang, Cameron French and Harry Douglass have won starting positions with Douglas on the wing and Wolfgang and French in the centres.

Scone prop Austin rounds out the 10-man Group 21 presence after he led the side so well up front in both games.

Greater Northern Tigers Divisional Championships

Under-23 men

GROUP 21 28 (Isaac Austin 2, James Bradley, Jason Hovi, Luke Rees tries; Will Nieuwenhuise 3, Harry Douglass goals) d GROUP 4 12 (Lincon Smith, Mitch Doring tries; Luke Small, Mitch Sheridan goals)

GROUP 21 18 (Jacob Button, Hamish Wolfgang, James Bradley tries; Harry Douglass 2, William Nieuwenhuise goals) d GROUP 19 16 (James Ballinger 2, Dewayne Nicholls tries; Tristan Ward, Jayden Smith goals)

GROUP 19 38 (Luke French 2, Zeke Dennis, Bailey Cosgrove, Dewayne Nicholls, Tyrell Smith, Jayden Smith tries; Tristan Ward 2, Jayden Smith 2, Chris McIntyre goals) d GROUP 4 0

Greater Northern Tigers under-23 men

1 Will Nieuwenhuise (Singleton), 2 Harry Douglass (Aberdeen), 3 Hamish Wolfgang (Aberdeen), 4 Cameron French (Aberdeen), 5 Tristan Ward (Moree Boomerangs), 6 James Bradley (Singleton), 7 Mitch Doring (Manilla), 8 Isaac Austin (Scone), 9 Matt Gillham (Boggabri), 10 James Ballinger (Inverell), 11 Jordan Mulherin (Denman), 12 Brady Benkovic (Denman), 13 Andrew Pritchard (Denman), 14 Mitch Sheridan (North Tamworth), 15 Lincon Smith (Gunnedah), 16 Jock Small (Narrabri), 17 Scott McIntyre (Armidale), 18 Hayden Smith (Gunnedah), 19 Luke Rees (Denman), Dewayne Nicholls (Moree Boomerangs). Coach – Peter Stevens