THE Greater Northern Tigers will make history when four representative teams – under-16, 18, 23 and women’s – play Country Championships at the same venue on the same day in Coffs Harbour this weekend.
The under-23 men and women contest first round matches against North Coast while the under-16s and under-18s tackle the fourth round of the Andrew Johns Cup and Laurie Daley Cup against North Coast as well.
It is a huge day, agreed Greater Northern regional manager Scott Bone.
“It’s a first as far as I know,” he said.
“We’ve never had a women’s tackle side before though, had ladies league tag.
“In the past, the under-16 and under-18 had played their Country Championships before or away from the senior men.”
The addition of the women’s team has been “interesting”, admitted coach Mick Schmiedel.
The former Tigers hooker and Greater Northern league tag mentor had to make some tough decisions this week, pruning his squad of 20 to 17 with a travelling reserve.
“They’re going all right,” he said at Monday night’s training session on Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School’s John Simpson Oval.
“They trained well.
“I let them run it for a while because they will have to work it for themselves on Saturday.
“I’ve given them four set plays they can revert to but I just want them to play footie.”
He has named Uralla’s Amy Barraclough as his captain with Greta Branxton’s Brooke Davis her deputy.
Glen Innes prop Amelia Tunamena will be one of his key players, too.
He’s hoping she can develop her running game, find some holes and make some offloads.
“Mick [Schmiedel] essentially wants me to be a ball-playing forward but it is essentially different to what I have always done,” she said.
“I have just been trying to work on that stuff and run at spaces not faces.”
Country Rugby League will broadcast the match “live” through its website and Facebook page with the under-16s kicking off at 10am, under-18s 11.20am, the women at 12.50pm and the under-23 men at 2pm.
Greater Northern Tigers teams
To play North Coast at Geoff King Motors Oval, Coffs Harbour, on Saturday, March 9
Greater Northern Tigers Women: 1 Taneika Landsborough (Guyra), 2 Toni Skuthorpe (South West Robins), 3 Lucy Prudden (Murrurundi), 4 Shae Pemberton (Muswellbrook), 5 Alyce Walsh (Uralla), 6 Amy Barraclough (c -Uralla), 7 Robyn Broadbent (Uralla), 8 Jessyca Morgan (Merriwa), 9 Taylah Blackadder (Merriwa), 10 Amelia Tunamena (Glen Innes), 11 Brooke Davis (vc - Greta Branxton), 12 Lauren Clarke (Boggabri), 13 Joan O’Leary (Bendemeer), 14 Brooke O’Halloran (Uralla), 15 Sarah Byrne (Glen Innes), 16 Alisa Tunamena (Glen Innes), 17 Katelyn Smith (Uralla), 18 Zoe Darlington (South West Robins). Coach: Mick Schmiedel, trainers - (yellow) Kathryn McCulloch, (blue) Kim Beverstock, (orange) Natasha Allan
Greater Northern Tigers under-23 men: 1 Will Nieuwenhuise (Singleton), 2 Cameron French (Aberdeen), 3 Hamish Wolfgang (Aberdeen), 4 Tristan Ward (Moree Boomerangs), 5 Dewayne Nicholls (Moree Boomerangs), 6 James Bradley (Singleton), 7 Mitchell Doring (c - 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 Mitchell Sheridan (North Tamworth), 15 Scott McIntyre (Armidale Rams), 16 Hayden Smith (Gunnedah), 17 Lincon Smith (Gunnedah), 18 Harry Douglass (Aberdeen). Coach: Peter Stevens
Greater Northern Tigers under-18s: Kobe Bone (North Tamworth), Jhett Butler (Dungowan), Hugh Collins (Aberdeen), Steve Dengate (Muswellbrook), Harrison Freeman (Dungowan), Clay Frendin (Dungowan), Cooper Harris (Dungowan), Kyle Johnson (Dungowan), Dan Kelly (North Tamworth), Blair Maloney (Farrer), Kalab McMillan-Bassett (Narrabri), Bailey Miller-Freebairn (Aberdeen), Brayden Reid (North Tamworth), Jackson Shade (Singleton), Mackenzie Shepherdson (Denman), Trent Taylor (Dungowan), Jack Todd (Dungowan), Sam Wentworth (Dungowan). Coach – Peter Stevens (Warialda), manager – Brad McManus (North Tamworth), trainers – Richard Ingram (yellow), Chris Bryant (blue), Daniel Swan (orange)
Greater Northern Tigers under-16s: Clint Aitken (Dungowan), Ethan Antzakles (Farrer) , Jock Brazel (Moree), Hayden Bull (Farrer), Tommy Dixon (Aberdeen), Sam Fechner (Scone), Jeff Harvey (Narrabri), Blake Johnston , Ryan Kelly-Payne (Inverell), Nick Laurie (Scone), Daltyn McCartney (Singleton), Latrell Newman (Moree), Riley Reid, Mark Simon (Farrer), Lachlan Smith (Farrer), Brayden Talbott-Hatch (Gunnedah) , Campbell Watchirs (Inverell). Coach – Steve Haylen (Muswellbrook), manager – Mick Schmiedel (Tamworth), trainers – (yellow) Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, (blue) Anthony Cubillo, (orange) Daniel Swan